SDLP Social Justice spokesperson, Mark H Durkan MLA, has described the figure of 121,000 children living in poverty as a "damning indictment of the DUP and Sinn Féin".
The figure of 121,000 children deemed to be living in relative poverty after housing costs in 2018-19 was outlined in response to an Assembly Question that Mr Durkan tabled.
The Foyle MLA commented: "These figures are a damning indictment of the DUP and Sinn Féin in Government, who have led Government here for over a decade. The economic impact of the pandemic will only see these figures rise. That is 121,000 children who are not only suffering the effects of poverty now but are also at risk of worse outcomes in terms of education and physical and mental health. Many of these children will be living in households with at least one adult working, earning their poverty."
"With the Universal Credit claimant count rising and set to soar once the furlough scheme ends, more families will find themselves subject to the worse excesses of Tory austerity. Of course, Sinn Féin and the DUP went through the voting lobbies together to hand our welfare powers over to a Tory Government. The two-child tax credit rule and the benefit cap only put more pressure on struggling families.”
“It is imperative that the Communities Minister plugs these gaps with a new welfare support package, to protect struggling families here. The Department has been extending the current mitigations by regulation since March but time is running out for them to ensure primary legislation is laid before the Assembly and not rushed through on accelerated passage. It is crucial that the Assembly and stakeholders have key to scrutinise any measures to help to tackle these shameful levels of child poverty across the North."