With the general election called, politicians will be back out knocking doors and looking for votes. We need to keep poverty on the agenda and ensure that our MPs use their position to advocate for the most vulnerable.

Under the Tories, we have seen a deepening of wealth inequality; a further dismantling of public services – from underfunding the NHS to education; brutal welfare reform which has increased poverty, particularly child poverty, and left many without the means to afford the essentials.

However, all indications point towards Labour also not taking tackling poverty seriously enough.

NIAPN urges all political parties across the UK and locally in NI to put eradicating poverty at the heart of their manifestos.

  • Support the Guaranteed Essentials Campaign – no one should not have enough income to cover the basic essentials for themselves and their household.
  • Scrap the 2-child limit to the child element of Universal Credit
  • Change the implementation of the first payment of Universal Credit to remove a 5 week wait.
  • Ensure all governmental departments and statutory organisations that are funded by the public purse and all companies that receive government incentives sign up to be accredited Real Living Wage and Real Living Hours employers
  • Invest massively in infrastructure across the UK and Northern Ireland – carbon neutral social house building; expansion of rail and public transportation; upgrading of water, sewerage, electricity and broadband infrastructure
  • Push further for a fairer block grant formula that recognizes the differences in profiles of needs in NI, differences in economies of scale and efficiencies in order to provide adequate public services and honour public sector pay rises.
  • Ensure effective and progressive taxation, requiring wealthy individuals and corporations to contribute significantly more, and reducing inequality.

These are the priorities, but there is much more that needs to be done at regional and local level, such as adopting a funded and evidence based anti-poverty strategy.

Eradicating poverty and increasing equality is not just the right thing to do. It brings much wider social, economic and political benefits. Societies that are more equal tend to be healthier and happier, freeing individuals to participate fully in their community and in democracy.

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