The cost of child poverty in NI: CPAG report
CPAG publishes cost of child poverty across Northern Ireland
Child Poverty Action Group has today published estimates of the costs to the economy and government generated by child poverty rates in every Northern Ireland Parliamentary constituency. This is part of a wider exercise covering local authorities and MP constituencies throughout the United Kingdom. The estimates, produced by Donald Hirsch of Loughborough University, are contained in a new report on how local authorities are trying to tackle child poverty at a time of social security cuts and upheaval.
Local Authorities and Child Poverty: Balancing Threats with Opportunities, is launched today at a CPAG conference in Birmingham aimed at helping local authorities fulfil their obligations under the Child Poverty Act to implement effective local child poverty strategies. The report and the conference have been funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust. The details for Northern Ireland are also being published simultaneously.
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said:
'We always put our children first in family life, and it's right that we should do so in our local communities too. Reducing child poverty benefits everyone by cutting the costs to local services and boosting the local economy through improved skills and qualifications for school leavers.
'Our new report will help local politicians and government departments in Northern Ireland on the challenges they face and the actions they can take to protect families in their area against poverty; and many residents will be shocked to hear that so many local children are living in poverty. We hope that local campaigners will be able to use our report to encourage their local politicians to do more to end child poverty in their area and support those families facing the greatest hardship.'
Les Allamby, Director of Law Centre (NI), added: 'The figures for Northern Ireland are shocking, with almost 100,000 children living below the relative poverty line at a cost of over £1 billion in extra costs of providing additional public services and other support, lost tax receipts from people earning less and more adults spending time out of work from having grown up in poverty. This is a wake up call to start acting now to improve the lives of the next generation.
'We already know that many aspects of welfare reform, including the spare room tax, the benefit cap and increased sanctions will make life more difficult for families who are out of work. Northern Ireland has an opportunity to do things differently and avoid many of the pitfalls created by welfare reform in Britain.
'Ensuring our welfare reform bill protects families both in and out of work is an essential first building block in tackling child poverty.'