Communities Minister Urged To Prioritise Anti-Poverty Strategy

The Alliance Party has called on the Minister for Communities to prioritise work on an anti-poverty strategy, highlighting a "devastating" report by The Trussell Trust.

The report confirms that 55% of people receiving Universal Credit in Northern Ireland ran out of food last month and couldn't afford more, and that 62% of people claiming Universal Credit in Northern Ireland are either behind on bills and credit commitments or are finding it a constant struggle to keep up with them, among other statistics.

Alliance Communities spokespeople Kellie Armstrong, said: "These are devastating figures, and demonstrate clearly how much more needs to be done to help some of the most vulnerable in our society.
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"Work on an anti-poverty strategy was stalled because of the recent two-year collapse of the Executive. As I stated during the recent debate around the Budget Bill, Northern Ireland needs this strategy to underpin the work of the Executive, and must now be prioritised.

"To ensure the Executive's attentions and future investment are appropriately targeted at eradicating poverty, the Minister for Communities must publish and present an anti-poverty strategy, and fight to ensure actions will be taken forward to help lift people out of poverty."

Sian Mulholland MLA added: "People who live in poverty face such unbearable stresses. Poverty impacts every element of life, from health and well-being, to education, to employment prospects.

"Families, single people, and older citizens alike simply cannot afford for this Executive to place poverty into the 'too difficult' box. With many families dealing with the move to Universal Credit and the resulting debt the five week wait can cause, I am committed to championing and upholding welfare mitigations to help those described in the Trussell Trust report.

"We have the means to help eradicate poverty and the misery it brings, if there is the political will from the Executive to do so."

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