‘376,000 people in relative poverty in Northern Ireland’
A new study reveals a rise in poverty in Northern Ireland in 2014 with the level going to 21%, up from 19% the previous year.
The Households Below Average Income annual report was published on Thursday by the Department of Social Development and covers 2013-14. It shows 376,000 people remained on relatively low incomes with average household income dropping by 1%. Among the households, 213,000 working-age adults and 63,000 pensioners were living on the breadline.
The shocking figure was about the child poverty with 23% or 101,000 falling into this category, up from 20% the previous year.
Save the Children’s Peter Bryson has hit out at the level of child poverty. “It’s unacceptable that 23% of children in Northern Ireland are now living in poverty, with numbers expected to rise even further,” he said.
“Northern Ireland is still an area with living standards well below those for the rest of the United Kingdom,” Economist John Simpson said while commenting on the report.
Simpson said that people here were worse off than in other regions. “In particular, the trend is the number of working-age adults on lower incomes has tended to increase when it has been decreasing in the rest of Britain.”
The wealth gap was also reflected in the report, with the richest households having 3.6 times more income than the poorest. The report, however, found that the income level of the remaining 60% in the middle was almost unchanged.