Poverty must be tackled wherever it exists
Sinn Féin General Secretary, Foyle MLA Mitchel McLaughlin has said that all political parties must work together to ensure that poverty is tackled wherever it exists.
Mr McLaughlin said:
"Sinn Féin have argued that equality must be at the heart of the peace process. This means that we must tackle poverty wherever it exists.
"Direct rule ministers have been let off the hook because political parties have not worked together to put them under pressure to ensure that tackling poverty is a priority.
"Where political forces have come together such as in West Belfast we have achieved initiatives such as the West Belfast and Shankill Economic Taskforce.
"The truth is that poverty exists in both unionist and nationalist areas and in both rural and urban areas. There is clear evidence of persistent and deep-rooted poverty existing in both communities. Sinn Féin recognise this.
"Sinn Féin want to see is everyone lifted out of the poverty trap and disadvantage tackled where it exists and on the basis of need. Any other approach, particularly based on religious or sectarian criteria would be a serious mistake and can only compound inequality.
"We need an anti-poverty strategy that tackles low pay, the provision of childcare, educational underachievement and the massive health equalities suffered by deprived and marginalised communities." ENDS
Note to Editors
50% of households containing disabled people are living with poverty.
150,000 children in the North live in poverty and half a million people live in poor households.
The Falls, Crumlin and Shankill wards are identified as the most deprived in Belfast, and the whole of the north, by the Noble Indices of Multiple Deprivation.
INDICATOR CATHOLIC % PROTESTANT %
Proportion of children 0-15 in workless households 21.5 11.8
Proportion of pupils achieving no qualifications 5.9 4.7
Proportion of pupils achieving no GCSE's 6.6 5.1
Proportion of working age people who are employed 61.2 71.2
Proportion of working age people who are unemployed 5.6 3.3
Proportion of working age economically active people who are long term unemployed 3.4 1.7
Proportion of lone parents of working age who are in employment 45.3 52.9
Proportion of persons of working age not in employment who would like a job 13.0 7.8
Working age economic inactivity rates 33.2 25.5
Proportion of working age persons in workless households 15.7 10.5
Proportion of working age adults living in work rich households 37.9 53.3
Proportion of persons of working age without a qualification 27.8 24.2
Unemployment differential between Catholics and Protestant (male and female) (1992: 2.0)2002:1.9
Unemployment differential between catholic and Protestant (male) (1992: 2.4)2002: 2.1
Unemployment differential between catholic and Protestant (female) (1992: 1.4)2002: 1.6
Source: 'Indicators of Social Need for NI', OFMDFM, September 2004