Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Poverty in Northern Ireland


Senior social scientists and policy-makers meet in Belfast today (Friday, February 4) to explore how far the government is succeeding in abolishing child poverty, reducing social exclusion, and improving equal opportunities in Northern Ireland.

Brought together by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the UK’s biggest funder of social research, the seminar will examine the distribution of income, benefits and tax in Northern Ireland.

The starting point for the discussion will be a new ESRC report which summarises the latest research findings into poverty in Northern Ireland and what policies might be effective in reducing it.

Professors Paddy Hillyard and Eithne McLaughlin of The Queen’s University of Belfast will deliver opening papers at the seminar and draw on their ground-breaking report, Bare necessities - poverty and social exclusion in Northern Ireland, and The bottom line: Severe child poverty in Northern Ireland shortly to be published by Save the Children in Northern Ireland.

Bare Necessities documented the extent of poverty that Northern Ireland families experience. It showed that a higher proportion of families are in poverty in Northern Ireland than in either Britain or the Republic of Ireland; and specifically found 185,000 households containing over 500,000 people were living below the poverty line. Poverty was measured by two yardsticks: low income and deprivation - having to go without things, which the public regard as necessities of life: such as enough money to pay heating, electricity and telephone bills on time and new, not second hand clothes.

The Bottom Line also showed that children and families in Northern Ireland are more deprived than their counterparts in Britain. In the words of Professor Hillyard, who described Northern Ireland as one of the most unequal societies in the developed world, "the challenge for Northern Ireland and local politicians is how to reduce these deep fractures of inequality and create a more just society."

Professor McLaughlin commented that lone parents in Northern Ireland face particular difficulties because of low levels of job opportunities for women generally combined with low pay and lack of early years provisions.

Among the themes to be explored are:

• The need for a comprehensive joined-up Northern Ireland anti-poverty strategy with clear definitions, policies, targets and outcome measures, which would also examine the inequality impact of existing and future policies

• A re-examination of Section 75 of the 1998 Northern Ireland Act, which places a duty on public authorities to promote equality across nine domains gender, religious belief, age, race, disability, sexual orientation, political opinion, marital status, and families -- but crucially does not include class or poor/rich dimensions.

• Children and childcare: why has there not been the same commitment to children’s early years in Northern Ireland as in England and Wales? Sure Start has been under-resourced. There is poor childcare provision and women’s employment rates are low. Women’s groups which supply so much of the support at community level do not receive mainstream funding and have to apply for funds annually. Many are going to the wall for lack of funds.

• Area based or individual/group distribution of resources. Does focusing on the former generate problems because poverty within the Catholic community is more concentrated than that within the Protestant community?

• How feasible is a welfare work-to policy in a region where pay is 20% less than the national average, most jobs are poorly paid and of short duration, and support services are in short supply.

• Is the current benefit system adequate to meet the problems of entrenched poverty or is something different needed? Can benefits be made more flexible so that lone parents and long-term unemployed can carry part of their benefits with them into their often short-term jobs as the new pilot programmes for disabled people in England are successfully exploring and as has been the practice in the Republic of Ireland for long-term unemployed people for many years.

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>