Charities warn one in four children will be in poverty in NI by 2024/25 unless Executive takes action
Charities have warned that one in four children will be in poverty by 2024/25 unless the Executive takes action.
Save The Children NI and the Child Poverty Action Group said the spiralling cost of living, a challenging labour market, a weak social security system, and a widening income gap is set to drive a rise in child poverty.
A new report `Brighter Futures', which has been produced by the charities, shows that while it was in place, the £20 increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits prevented 11,000 children from being plunged into poverty.
But with the support now cut, the charities have warned that child poverty is on course to rise to 25 per cent over the next five years.
The report calls on the Executive to remove the two-child limit for Universal Credit and child tax credit and introduce a £20 Northern Irish Child Payment for children in families eligible for means-tested benefits.
They claim these measures will ensure that 38,000 fewer children will be in poverty in 2024/25, reducing the child poverty rate to a historic low of 17 per cent.
Peter Bryson, Head of Save the Children Northern Ireland, said it is "unacceptable for any child to grow up in poverty.
"Preventing an increase in the child poverty rate must be the priority of every party in Northern Ireland," he said.
"The Executive urgently needs to act if it wants to live up to its commitments in the Programme for Government to give children the best start in life".
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said analysis shows the rise in child poverty can be stopped "if we make good decisions for children now".?