Research undertaken by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and presented in Belfast this morning, reveals that 370,000 people in Northern Ireland live in poverty.
The breakdown of the figures show that it includes 110,000 children, 220,000 working-age adults and 40,000 pensioners: around one in five of the population here with poverty highest among families with children.
Among the factors which contribute to levels of poverty are poor educational attainment and high levels of unemployment.
Where was the parties red line on tackling poverty in the recent talks to restore the Executive? Where was the demand for an economic plan and a job creation strategy for Northern Ireland? Where was the ultimatum to abolish university tuition fees and introduce integrated education at all levels?
The reality is that none of those issues were on the agenda. Sinn Fein and the DUP were focused on a zero sum game designed to preserve their respective nationalist agendas. Health, well being, employment, housing and living standards weren’t just a secondary issue. They weren’t even on the table
Only a socialist economy, a socialist approach to the funding and structuring of education and a socialist led, publicly funded, housing programme can begin to address the abject misery currently endured by one person in every five in Northern Ireland.
That is where the red line in this society should be drawn.
See the JRF on Poverty in Northern ireland report here: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/poverty-northern-ireland-2018