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Tackling poverty and exclusion requires partnership: Junior Minister Gerry Kelly

19 June, 2008

Addressing poverty, disadvantage and exclusion requires co-ordinated action to support the most vulnerable.

That was the message from Sinn Féin Junior Minister Gerry Kelly this evening as he addressed the 'Future Together' conference which focused on the impact of rising costs on local families.

Whilst the Executive would continue to lobby against the global forces pushing up the price of fuel and oil, Junior Minister Kelly outlined a number of initiatives which can assist those who are most vulnerable.

Speaking at the Landsdowne Hotel in Belfast, he said:

"There are a number of Executive led initiatives and programmes that can make a difference. These initiatives focus on tackling poverty and inequality, creating and sustaining economic growth, and delivering quality public services. In short we need to create jobs and ensure that the opportunities and benefits of these are shared.

"There are also local community programmes and initiatives that support the people that need it most. We need to empower and support individuals and communities to devise local solutions and to meet the challenges. Partnerships like the Future Together Initiative provide a vital link drawing in Credit Unions, advice providers and others to provide readily accessible support to vulnerable individuals.

"By continuing to work together in this way we can develop new ideas and provide the best support for individuals and families.

"We as politicians won't pretend to have all the answers but I can assure you that we will continue to listen and to learn and we are committed to do everything we can to alleviate the hardship faced by the most vulnerable in our community." ENDS

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