Over 80,000 children in the Six Counties are living in poverty, according to a new report published yesterday [January 10].
The report, produced by the Campaign to End Child Poverty, found that over 1 in 5 children in the statelet live below the poverty line – the point at which families struggle to pay for basic necessities such as food, heating and clothing.
That figure rises to over 2 in 5 in West Belfast (where 46 per cent of children live in poverty) and North Belfast (41 per cent), with Derry close behind at 36 per cent.
The report also reveals that there are now more children in households without work, and in households where only some of the adults have jobs.
Commenting on the report, éirígí representative John McCusker condemned the dire situation in which more and more families are finding themselves.
He said, “It’s disgraceful that families are being forced to choose between feeding themselves or heating their homes, and it’s a situation that’s more common than many people are willing to admit.
“In my local area in West Belfast, the figures for child poverty given in the report are appallingly high – 64 per cent in Whiterock, 63 per cent in Falls, 56 in Clonard and 53 in the Upper Springfield.
“This already intolerable situation will only worsen as our communities feel the bite of the Tory cuts agenda. People in work are having their pay frozen or reduced and, and people in receipt of benefits are finding these slashed. Add to this that more people are finding that their income cannot keep up with inflation and it’s clear that many families are struggling to afford even the basics.
“The cabinet of millionaires in Westminster will not have to face these circumstances, neither will the Stormont politicians who are just getting by on their £43,000-a-year ‘poverty’ pay.”
John concluded, “The most vulnerable are suffering the most from the regressive economic policies of the Tories. This sorry state of affairs will continue only as long as people allow it. Workers are facing further attacks on pay and conditions, and people on benefits and tax credits will see all of these schemes cut as the British government and its Stormont administration continue with their austerity economics. Now is the time to say ‘No more’ so we don’t condemn yet another generation of children to a poverty-ridden existence.”