Filter by a topic of your interest
Social security is inadequate – what will government do about it?
The Cliff Edge Coalition NI relaunched its campaign last week. A lot has changed since 2018, almost none of it good, and the cliff edge faced by much of society has grown much higher.
The cost of living is creating a poverty sinkhole
A new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that, while poverty in general has waxed and waned over the past 20 years, the number of people and families living in destitution has increased significantly.
The fundamental weaknesses of any UBI pilot scheme
The Welsh Government has announced a trial of universal basic income. That’s what they’re calling it, anyway. It’s a bold move by a devolved government and Stormont should pay attention. However, some issues remain.
Welfare mitigations need a significant impact despite tight finances
The Communities Minister has commissioned an independent review of welfare mitigations. Writing for Scope, review Chair Les Allamby says the challenge for the panel’s is to come up with proposals that are both realistic and meaningful.
Poverty is a trap
Arguments against higher social security payments centre on incentivising work. This is flawed thinking. Right now, benefits are too low.
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.
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.