Failure to tackle poverty - Enough is Enough
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Poverty, North Belfast MLA Kathy Stanton has added her voice to the demand for stronger action to eradicate poverty and endorsed the 'Enough is Enough' anti-poverty campaign led by the community and voluntary sector.
Ms Stanton said:
"It is a disgrace that the urgent need and clear government commitment to produce an anti-poverty strategy has been meet with such a lack of political will and urgency by British direct rule ministers and their civil servants.
"Enough is Enough is an understatement.
"It is unacceptable that 150,000 children in the North live in poverty and half a million people live in poor households.
"The approach being taken by direct rule minister and the current government proposals for an anti-poverty strategy fall well short of what is required as the basis for the way forward.
"An anti-poverty strategy that contains no targets, no commitment to adequate resources, no analysis of the causes of poverty and no action to tackle the gap between the rich and the poor can only fail.
"In Britain the British Labour government has made additional resources available yet here people are being treated like second class citizens. This is the cost of direct rule and the continuation of British rule.
"We need a genuine anti-poverty strategy that tackles low pay, the provision of childcare, educational underachievement the massive health equalities suffered by deprived and marginalised communities. There must be a vision for the eradication of poverty.
"The equality mechanisms and legislation in place may not be perfect but they flowed out of the Good Friday Agreement in order to address a growing gulf between rich and poor in our society. Those same inequalities remain and in some aspects are deepening, particularly West of the Bann as well as in other areas where social and economic disadvantage remains consistently depressing. It is time for political direction and action.
"Last Friday a Sinn Féin delegation led by North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan and West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff met with Direct Rule Minister Jeff Rooker and raised the issue of the Targeting Social Need Strategy (TSN). We impressed upon Mr Rooker the total inadequacy of this strategy. " ENDS