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New Household survey highlights persistent poverty

2 August, 2007

Sinn Féin anti-poverty spokesperson, West Tyrone MLA Claire McGill has said that it is time for the Executive to deliver a genuine anti-poverty strategy after the 'Households Below Average Income' report published by the Department of Social Development showed persistent and increasing levels of poverty.

Ms McGill said:

"This report shows persistent levels of poverty. It also demonstrates that there are areas where this poverty is concentrated, areas West of the Bann.

"It is time for the Executive to deliver a genuine anti-poverty strategy that can make a real difference to our communities. This reports highlights a number of patterns of disadvantage that must be address, namely:

  • Families with disabled children are more at risk of low-income than those in families with none.
  • Workless families were much more likely to live in low income than those with one or more adults in full-time work.
  • Families with children were more at risk of low incomes than those without children. Lone parent families were particularly at risk.
  • People living in Housing Association homes were more likely to be in low income than those who owned their homes.
  • People living in west of the Bann were most at risk of being in low income. Those living in the east of were least at risk.

"Behind all of these facts and figures are the lives of ordinary people who are struggling to make ends meet; people who are living day-to-day; people who are unable to afford the most basic of necessities.

"People living in Derry were most at risk of being in low income and children living in Dungannon were most at risk of low income; Working age adults living in Dungannon showed the highest risk of low income.

"The fact that some 1 in 5 people in low-income families had no a bank account and 7 in 10 had no savings also provides evidence of how precarious life is for people living in poverty; with little financial resources to meet even basic needs let alone deal with any unexpected financial crisis.

"The findings that Pensioners living in Belfast showed a greater risk of poverty in 2005/06 compared to 2004/05 should also be a matter of huge concern.

"Economic poverty creates such huge hardships and has such long lasting consequences not just for the communities and people most at risk but for our society as a whole. There must be an end to complacency on this." ENDS

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