Anti-poverty strategy needs to make best use of limited resources, says Armstrong

Any anti-poverty strategy should make the best use of limited resources to reduce the number of people living in hardship, Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said.

Ms Armstrong was speaking after meeting with senior officials from Strategic Planning and Resources in the Department of Communities to discuss the proposed Anti-Poverty Strategy. The strategy would form part of the Programme for Government when the Executive returns.

“Alliance continues to work on the issues that will have positive outcomes for everyone in Northern Ireland. While the Executive may not be sitting, our staff and MLAs continue to work with the Civil Service to develop and deliver strategies to help citizens. We have taken every opportunity to proactively engage with Departments to ensure actions to help constituents are prioritised.

“Today we encouraged officers to develop the anti-poverty strategy to require Departments to work in partnership towards reducing poverty. Alliance highlighted the need for the proposed review of education to progress the curriculum to ensure young people are able to learn the skills needed for employment, that access to services is key for rural dwellers, older people and people with disabilities, and the strategy must complement the work proposed in other cross-cutting plans, such as the proposed childcare strategy, to ensure both unemployed and working poor are supported.

“We also asked for clarity on the proposed anti-poverty task force and its remit, as well as highlighting the need to consider how the cost of division impacts delivery of services. Any anti-poverty strategy should consider ways to make the best use of our limited resources rather than have to provide less because of duplication caused by ‘one for me, one for you’ polarised politics.”