24% in Derry in relative poverty an ‘indictment’ says SDLP economy spokesperson Sinéad McLaughlin

A quarter of people in Derry are living in relative poverty after housing costs, a new report from the Department for Communities has shown.
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The Northern Ireland Poverty and Income Inequality report (2022/23) shows 24 per cent of people living in Derry and Strabane were living in a household with equivalised income less than 60 per cent of the UK median.

The data – for the 2019-20 to 2022-23 period – demonstrate that the level of relative poverty was double that of Lisburn & Castlereagh (12 per cent) and much higher than Belfast (16 per cent).

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Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin said: “Behind these statistics are thousands of families across our city and district who have been abandoned by government and trapped in cycles of intergenerational poverty.

Sinéad McLaughlinSinéad McLaughlin
Sinéad McLaughlin

"The fact that in 2024, around a quarter of our population in this region are in relative poverty after housing costs is a sad indictment of the government’s failure to agree an Anti-Poverty Strategy and put in place the kind of deliberate interventions that are required in order to move the needle and give opportunity to all of our people.”

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The new report highlights that there has been little or no improvement over the past decades. For example, in the 2012-13 to 2014-15 period the relative poverty figures for Derry/Strabane stood at 25 per cent.

The SDLP economy spokesperson said: “I’m concerned by just how little these figures have moved over the last ten years. It would be insanity to continue to adopt the same approaches as were pursued in the last Assembly mandate and expect this record of failure to change.

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"I believe a different approach is needed, starting with the Executive agreeing an Anti-Poverty Strategy that is based on objective need.

“It is also totally unacceptable that the proportion of people in our region who live in relative poverty after housing costs is double the proportion in other areas.

"In the Assembly, I have been making the case for new legislation that mandates all government Departments to measure these regional inequalities and then puts in place investment in those areas where the market and policy has failed.

"We can’t afford our economic policy to remain regionally blind. It’s long past time to shine a light on the inequality that exists and then take steps to address it.”

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