Latest Updates

Governments should think less about GDP – and focus on wellbeing

10 Nov 2021 Ryan MillerWellbeing, Mental Health, Health, Economy, Poverty, Policy, Sector Issues

If wellbeing is going to work as an alternative to GDP, Stormont needs to commit to it. This looks increasingly possible.

There is no single fix for poverty

3 Nov 2021 Ryan MillerEquality, Inequality, Health, Mental Health, Digital Access, Poverty

Launch of the Scaffolding Project's briefing paper

New research highlights the many things that make poverty persist in East Belfast. Problems are not limited to the expense of food or electricity – a lack of digital access is a problem, even in such an urban area.

The Unlikely History of Integrated Schools in Northern Ireland

3 Nov 2021 Nick GarbuttEducation

This week marks the 190th anniversary of the first attempt to introduce integrated education in Northern Ireland. Colm Cavanagh charts a sorry history.

For those in peril of the rising sea

28 Oct 2021 Nick GarbuttEnvironment, Climate Change

Many of us feel overwhelmed by the climate crisis, helpless at the scale of it, unsure of what we can do, and yet shocked by the complacency of some and terrified by the apocalyptic pronouncements of others.

Why NI’s entire approach to school uniforms should change

28 Oct 2021 Ryan MillerEducation, Equality, Poverty, Anti-Poverty

Photo by Robin Worrall on Unsplash

Northern Ireland has no limit for the prices of its school uniforms. Costs are far beyond what parents consider reasonable, and should be reduced. A complete reform of what children wear should also be considered.

Not making plans for Nigel: why birth rates matter

21 Oct 2021 Nick GarbuttHealth, Economy

At this time of year, every year, the media zooms in on birth statistics.

Can failing children’s services be the spark that ignites NI’s health transformation?

21 Oct 2021 Ryan MillerHealth, Mental Health, Children and Young People, Equality, Health Reform

Photo by Kristine Wook on Unsplash

A new report from the Children’s Commissioner highlights the ongoing collapse of Health and Social Care. Could the implications for children finally push Stormont into reform?

A Manifesto for Health

15 Oct 2021 Nick GarbuttHealth

Parties in Northern Ireland are already in campaigning mode as we build up to the Assembly Elections which will be held next May, possibly earlier if the DUP decides to collapse government before then.

Life expectancy, like poverty, is a growing concern for the UK

13 Oct 2021 Ryan MillerHealth, Inequality, Poverty

Photo by Todd Thompson on Unsplash

A new study shows differences in life expectancy between different parts of the UK can be measured in decades. Within Northern Ireland, these gaps are smaller – but questions remain.

Protecting tomorrow today

8 Oct 2021 Nick GarbuttPolicy

The great paradox of politics is that whilst most of the problems politicians seek to solve are long-term the system works against them - they are trapped in short termism.

“I love every thing about Belfast”

5 Oct 2021 Ryan MillerAsylum, Refugees, Persecution, Human Traffic, Modern Slavery

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

An open letter of thanks from a young asylum seeker was read out to Belfast City Council this week. However, coming changes in the law will make it harder for children fleeing persecution to settle here in NI.

Funders make it easier to get their support

30 Sep 2021 Nick GarbuttFundraising

Funders in Northern Ireland which collectively invest around £100 million a year in good causes have just made it easier for those seeking their support to get it.

Arts funding should be higher – and uncontroversial

28 Sep 2021 Ryan MillerArts, Funding, culture

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons (right) with Dungeons and Dragons producer Jeremy Latcham (left) and NI Screen CEO Richard Williams

The arts are often treated as an economic sick man. This does not reflect reality. Two new reports from the Arts Council highlight the importance of investment.

How to close the digital divide

24 Sep 2021 Nick GarbuttSocial Issues, Equality

Fast and reliable access to the internet is now widely regarded to be an essential utility, just like water and electricity.

The £20 Universal Credit should stay. History says the cut will go ahead.

22 Sep 2021 Ryan MillerWelfare Reform, Universal Credit, Poverty, Inequality

Dr Therese Coffey remained in place as DWP Minister during the recent cabinet reshuffle. A change in direction seems unlikely.

The reality of Universal Credit has always been at war with its stated aims. The £20 uplift should stay – or be increased – but reducing payments would be in keeping with standards set by this major welfare reform.

How to die well

17 Sep 2021 Nick GarbuttHealth

Everyone wants to live well. It is also important to die well.

The pandemic, women, and Building Back Better

16 Sep 2021 Ryan MillerHealth, Economy, Childcare, Caring, Covid-19, Inequality, Equality, Women

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

The Women’s Policy Group NI has relaunched its Covid-19 Feminist Recovery Plan. Scope looks at why this is important.

Olwen Lyner: doing the right things, for the right people, for the right reasons

10 Sep 2021 Nick GarbuttSector Issues, Criminal Justice

One of Northern Ireland’s most highly respected and influential Third Sector leaders announced her retirement this week.

Climate change is here and now

9 Sep 2021 Ryan MillerClimate Change, Sector Issues, Environment

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

The UK is already feeling the effects of climate change. A new report by the British Red Cross identifies the impact of heatwaves, how these will intensity, and what should be done in response.

Milkshakes, chicken bites and workers' rights

3 Sep 2021 Nick GarbuttEconomy

This has not been a good week for lovers of milkshakes, Gregg’s chicken bites and Coors beers.


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