Mallon: Poverty rate an indictment of political failure
The SDLP’s Social Justice Spokesperson Nichola Mallon further added:
“These statistics confirm that 292,000 adults and 85,000 children continue to live in relative poverty here in Northern Ireland. With the implementation of welfare cuts dubbed ‘welfare reform’, the four fold increase in rent arrears already hurting the 175 families being forced to pay the bedroom tax and the cliff edge looming for 10s of 1000s of families in less than a year when mitigations run out, these figures are set to increase. All the press statements and election stunts in the world can’t hide the truth - that it will be impossible to tackle poverty without a functioning Executive and Assembly.
“Rather than putting all of their energy into blaming each other for the political shambles we're in, the DUP and Sinn Féin should sit down, sort their differences and put the needs of vulnerable, low income and working families first. However given the fact both parties, despite their Stormont standoff, joined forces in Belfast City Council last December to reject funding an anti-poverty crisis intervention fund, it seems unlikely they will be moved to action by these latest figures.
“When you tackle poverty, you can begin to transform lives. This is why the SDLP has consistently called for a standalone Anti-Poverty Strategy, with clear cross cutting targets focusing on health, education, employment and housing. An Anti-Poverty Strategy must be included in the Programme for Government and this remains a key priority for us in the resumption of any new Talks process.”