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Poverty is a trap
Arguments against higher social security payments centre on incentivising work. This is flawed thinking. Right now, benefits are too low.
Poverty in the UK
The UK was struggling to get to grips with poverty before the pandemic. Immediate needs and underlying issues both need to be addressed in any recovery.
Social security should be reasonable and sympathetic - but it is not
Universal Credit administration takes a hard line, even with measures that are supposed to make allowances for people in difficulty. Work from Advice NI has exposed another fault line in the system, leaving vulnerable people in hardship.
Questions remain on extension of Welfare Reform mitigations
March 2020 sees the end of Welfare Reform mitigations in NI. The newly-reformed Stormont has promised to extend this important service, yet some uncertainty remains.
Northern Ireland has the lowest poverty rates in the UK
The latest annual poverty report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows the importance of affordable housing.
Stormont’s back – and everyone’s inbox is full
The Assembly’s return is a big deal and surely better than the past three years. However, the list of issues MLAs face is enormous. Scope looks at human rights in NI.
Hunger is an issue this Christmas and New Year
Food banks, Universal Credit and holiday hunger are different issues, but all are interlinked. That relationship comes into sharper focus at this time of year.
Welfare Reform mitigations must continue
A Westminster committees inquiry has concluded that NI’s mitigations package should continue beyond next March’s benefits cliff edge – action is required now.
Northern Ireland in no position to take a one-two-three punch
Brexit, Welfare Reform and the health service – each is at a major moment for NI policy. But these are not independent issues. Any failures will compound. This could be disastrous.
If you want to improve the benefits system, speak up
The IFS says Universal Credit will lower the incomes of millions of people and that the welfare reform “hits the persistently poor the hardest on average.” But change is possible.
Welfare Reform mitigations have problems that could be helped by an Executive
An Audit Office report has highlighted huge Welfare Reform underspend. Several NI organisations say bigger problems are coming. With no Assembly, we are rudderless – but Stormont struggled to deal with this first time round.
How NI relies on Europe for employability schemes
The European Social Fund represents a small amount of EU money – but supports a huge proportion of the schemes in its sector. Westminster’s delay on developing a replacement is worrying.
Christmas is the busiest time of year for foodbanks
Another Christmas, another busy month for foodbanks. For most people, they are an abstract concept – that’s because most people never have to use them.
There will be unfortunate irony if Brexit is terrible - but the UK already had real problems
Some major issues that drove Brexit could worsen after we leave the EU. This says some interesting things not just about the UK's decision - but also about the status quo we are leaving behind.