Councillor Rory Farrell sends stark message to new Stormont anti-poverty panel

Mon, 17/05/2021 - 12:04 -- Editor

The anti-poverty strategy is currently being developed and is expected to be formalised by December. An expert advisory panel has made a series of recommendations on reducing poverty to the Communities Minister, Sinn Féin’s Deirdre Hargey. 

27% of people living in poverty in Northern Ireland live in Derry & Strabane and the panel has not made any specific recommendations for this council area. 

Addressing Council’s Governance & Strategic Planning committee, the Ballyarnett representative said,

“It's been a long time coming. Six years, in fact, since the High Court ruling that said that the Executive was basically breaking its own rules by not having an anti-poverty strategy.

“So, there's a lot to welcome in here in terms of the recommendations. There are interesting proposals that will tackle deprivation and destitution across the north.

“You've got the anti-poverty act, you've got the introduction of a child payment. You've got a recommendation to stop the Bedroom Tax once and for all.”

Cllr Farrell continued, “And I note one particular recommendation that the Strategic Investment Board and Invest NI should have plans and targets in place to address geographical inequalities in employment and unemployment.

“We’ve been saying this for quite some time. It is our council’s corporate position and I hope that the Economy Minister reads the recommendation and takes appropriate action.”

Cllr Farrell concluded, “There's a missed opportunity here around poverty in our council area. 27% of people living in poverty in the north live in our council area. And we need specific interventions in that regard.

“Just last week we passed a motion relating to deprivation and poor health outcomes. And our approach is that there should be a specific strategy for this council area. And that approach should apply to the anti-poverty strategy as well.”