2 May 2012

Welfare reform proposals could worsen situation for families already facing hardship warns Lewsley-Mooney.

COMMISSIONER for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley-Mooney, said today’s publication of the Joseph Rowntree Trust’s Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion in Northern Ireland provided further evidence that too many children live in poverty.

In welcoming the publication of the report, Ms Lewsley-Mooney said the findings indicated that even families where a parent was in work were struggling.

She said that this should cause concern for everyone, not least Minsters and MLAs.

“Last week I published reports on the potential impact of Welfare Reform proposals in Northern Ireland,” said the Commissioner. “Today’s report from the Joseph Rowntree Trust is not scaremongering. It is evidence that families are facing real hardship.

“I am extremely worried that the Trust’s research shows that 120,000 children in poverty are living in households where at least one parent is working, their situation could get worse.

“I fear that proposed cuts to Working Tax credits and Child Tax Credit will hit this group hardest, leading to even more children will be exposed to deprivation.”

Ms Lewsley said that her reports published last week show that many thousands of children and young people will suffer significantly reduced living standards.

“Children are particularly vulnerable to poverty and are unable themselves to influence their economic circumstances. The inequalities already experienced by many children living in poverty, as highlighted by today’s report, could worsen considerably as a result of the proposed Welfare Reform legislation, if action is not taken.”

Notes for editors

  • The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People was established by the Assembly and Parliament. The Conmmissioner's role is to promote and safeguard the rights and best interests of children and young people. Learn more about her work at www.niccy.org. Follow the Commissioner on Twitter @nichildcom
  • You can find the Commissioner's reports on Making Children Visible here