Last June, the Equality Coalition, Barnardo’s NI, and the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network held a joint seminar at Stormont entitled ‘Progressing an anti-poverty strategy for Northern Ireland’. This seminar called for an anti-poverty strategy based on objective need to be a day one priority for the next NI Executive.

Representatives from all NI Executive departments were invited to attend this event, which was sponsored by Emma Sheerin MLA and co-sponsored by Gerry Carroll MLA, Mike Nesbitt MLA, Sinéad McLaughlin MLA, and Kate Nicholl MLA. 

During the seminar, a range of expert speakers examined what progress has been made to
date in developing an anti-poverty strategy for NI, while also considering how to ensure the
future strategy is as comprehensive and effective as possible.

The seminar put forward following key asks:

  • The adoption and implementation of an overarching, comprehensive anti-poverty strategy based on objective need as a day one priority for a new Executive. This strategy should have clear, timebound targets and build upon the detailed work that has been carried out to date in order to ensure expedient delivery and implementation of actions.
  • In the interim, DfC and all government departments should progress the development of the draft strategy as much as is possible by in readiness for a new Executive.

The full conference report can be read here.

Whilst a collapsed Stormont make progress on the anti-poverty strategy more difficult, it is crucial that poverty remains on the political radar, and a strategy based on objective need is progressed regardless of a returned Executive.

The anti-poverty strategy must be taken forward at the earliest possible opportunity.

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