9 Jul 2015

Budget could plunge more Northern Ireland families into poverty

MORE children are likely to fall into poverty as a result of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s budget, warned NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma today.

This comes one week after Koulla and the other UK Children’s Commissioners informed, in their Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, of the detrimental impacts of existing austerity measures on children and young people’s lives.

“Regrettably there appears to be very little in this budget announcement that will permanently lift families out of poverty and indeed I am deeply concerned that more children will face poverty as a result of the government’s plans,” she said.

“There are approximately 140,000 families in Northern Ireland who depend on child tax credits. Lowering the income threshold for tax credits by almost £3,000 and freezing levels for 4 years will mean that many of these hard working families will see the benefits they receive for their children reduced.

“The 70p increase in the introduction of a ‘National Living Wage’, although welcome, will not compensate for the money they will lose”.

The Commissioner also warned about the effect of cutting tax credit entitlements for families with more than two children.

“Surely it can’t be right to punish parents because they have more than two children,” said Koulla. “Families need the safety net offered by tax credits and child benefit to improve the life chances of all their children.”

NICCY will continue to study the full Budget Statement in detail to assess all the implications for children and young people in Northern Ireland.

ENDS

Notes for Editors