25 Sep 2017

Statement from Koulla Yiasouma, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, on the introduction of further welfare reform measures in Northern Ireland:

“I remain extremely concerned about the impact that the introduction of Universal Credit will have on the lives on children and young people.

“With over one fifth of our children and young people already living in poverty, I fear this will push even more families into a downward spiral of poverty and hardship.

“It is simply not acceptable that more children will go without basic necessities, become more dependent on foodbanks and face increased disadvantage and inequality.

“One of NICCY’s overriding concerns is that while children and young people may not be the direct recipients of benefits, they undoubtedly are adversely impacted by its effect on family incomes.

“Through our work on welfare reform, we have addressed issues with the Department for Communities such as the ‘2 child rules’ and benefit sanctions being applied without ‘due process’, and lack of consideration for the adverse impact on children in families of claimants.

“I urge the Department to consider suspending the introduction of Universal Credit until a comprehensive child impact assessment process is in place, with accompanying measures to mitigate against any adverse impact on children.”  

ENDS