Skip to main content

Poverty: Northern Ireland

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 16 November 2006

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Peter Hain) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

The Government are committed to tackling poverty and social exclusion in Northern Ireland.

On 13 November, I published Lifetime Opportunities—Government’s Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Strategy for Northern Ireland. This follows extensive public consultation on the future direction of new targeting social need (new TSN) policy in Northern Ireland and the results of an independent evaluation of new TSN.

The new strategy will aim to:

End child poverty by 2020. Based on the estimate of approximately 130,000 children in relative income poverty in 1998-99, this means lifting 65,000 children out of poverty by 2010, on the way to eradication by 2020; and

Work towards eliminating poverty and social exclusion in Northern Ireland by 2020.

It will retain some important elements of its predecessor new TSN, such as promoting social inclusion (PSI) and the principle of targeting resources and effort within programmes at those areas, groups and individuals in greatest objective need. Significant changes include the introduction of a new structure, based on four key life cycles highlighting the important issues impacting on a person at these different stages of their life and a goal for each highlighting what Government wish to achieve.

The commitment to end child poverty is in line with the UK target of halving child poverty by 2010, with a view to eradicating child poverty by 2020.

A key feature of the strategy will be the establishment of a ministerial-led inter-departmental, cross-sectoral forum to monitor progress. Subject to the establishment of a Northern Ireland Executive, it is intended that the forum will be chaired by my honourable friend the Minister of State for Northern Ireland, David Hanson MP, who has lead responsibility for taking forward work to tackle poverty and social exclusion in Northern Ireland.

Copies of Lifetime Opportunities have been placed in the Libraries and is also available at www.ofmdfmni