Why fight poverty? Because we can, and we can win!
Speaking at the 2015 Law Centre (NI) social justice lecture at the Harbour Office Belfast, Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, made an impassioned call for the urgent need to tackle poverty in Northern Ireland.
Poverty is not inevitable was the key message. Arguing that combatting poverty must remain a priority even in an economic crisis, Julia Unwin stressed that there is an urgent need to develop a shared understanding of poverty that transcends political differences.
Julia Unwin said: “Poverty is real in the UK, it causes harm and it is not inevitable. Responsibility rests with all of us: with governments across the UK, with local authorities, with business and of course, with individuals themselves. Between us we have the capacity and the tools to tackle poverty and contribute to a poverty-free and prosperous UK.
“The changing demography of our country, the impact of globalisation and automation, as well as challenges in our housing markets all provide both opportunities and risks."
In her lecture, she evoked: “that great potential within Northern Ireland to reduce poverty, and create a society in which everyone can thrive and contribute.”
She ended with the rousing call for action: "Why fight poverty? Because we can, and we can win!"
Listen to Julia's talk here, courtesy of Alan Meban:
The Law Centre is grateful to Julia Unwin and JRF for their encouraging words and support for organisations working to eradicate poverty in Northern Ireland. Director Glenn Jordan said: “At the Law Centre, we are acutely aware of the need for joined up thinking if we are to make serious inroads in the fight against poverty.
“Many of the Law Centre’s clients are people who live in poverty, for example due to ill health, low pay or unemployment, sometimes compounded by errors in processing benefit applications. We do our best to address their pressing legal needs and, where needed, refer them to health and social care trusts or to charities that provide immediate relief. We also work towards affecting wider changes through test cases and policy development. We are delighted with Julia Unwin’s inspiring contribution to the debate.”
To be part of the conversation on this and other anti-poverty events, find: #endpovertyni on Twitter.
Some interesting reports and interviews from the event: