Sinn Féin Vice-Chair of the Assembly Enterprise Committee, Phil Flanagan MLA speaking about the latest Asda Income Tracker Report said:
“It is obvious that we must do more to lift people out of a life of poverty.
“The latest Asda Income Tracker shows that people in the north of Ireland have less disposable income than any part of Britain.
“Local families are struggling with an average disposable income of just £80 per week in comparison to £231 per household in London.
“This is the equivalent of just £11.40 to spend per day - less than the cost of a return train ticket from Belfast to Portadown (£12.50) or Derry (£17.50).
“Successive British governments have overseen the most unequal economy in Europe and families in the North of Ireland are consistently worse off than families anywhere in Britain.
“While local disposable income has begun to move in the right direction, increasing by £4 per week in comparison with last year’s figures, people still have less money in their pocket than they did in 2012.
“In the past two years we have seen eleven food banks opened across the north and one in three people are struggling to meet housing costs. We must do more to lift people out of a life of poverty.
“Sinn Féin is seeking support from other parties for action on three areas which will increase peoples’ disposable income.
“Oppose the introduction of welfare cuts which are part of the right wing Tory/DUP austerity agenda to ensure that our welfare system protects rather than exploits the vulnerable and disadvantaged - introduce a living wage and reduce fuel and energy costs.
“The proposed welfare cuts would not only wipe out this meagre increase but would plunge people even further into abject poverty.” CRÍOCH/ENDS