By Brian Pelan, VIEW editor
On June 22, we will launch the print version of our themed VIEW edition on child poverty in Northern Ireland and further afield at Stormont.
We have invited a number of contributors to the issue to the Stormont event, including Jane Craven, founder and chairperson of the Whiterock Children’s Centre, Belfast; Paddy Hillyard, Professor of Sociology, Queen’s University; Marion Mcleod, Policy Manager for Children in Scotland; Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland; Jacqueline O’Loughlin, Chief Executive of Playboard; Geraldine Wilkins, Fighting Words Belfast programme and Kerry Melville, Co-Ordinator, Belfast Food Network.
Steven Agnew, MLA and leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, will launch the event.
We feel that Stormont is an appropriate location given that MLAs are currently embroiled in crisis talks over the non-implementation of the Welfare Reform Act.
Many of the MLAs who have adopted a position of support for the Welfare Reform Bill have played down or tended to ignore the effects it will cause on people who currently depend on welfare support from the State.
Our child poverty issue tacked this issue head on as it highlighted a number of alarming issues and statistics concerning the present grim scenario of those amongst us who are financially struggling.
The headline on our latest issue was: ‘Why our 100,000 children living in poverty in Northern Ireland?’ This stark headline of fact is sometimes lost amongst the budget arguments that rage around the welfare reform bill.
We also know from experience that where the Welfare Reform Bill has been implemented in other parts of the UK, severe hardship has been caused to many thousands of people, including the vulnerable and the disabled.
And as our experts and contributors in the latest issue of VIEW have pointed out, the situation regarding child poverty will worsen dramatically by 2020 unless counter-measures are carried out to effectively tackle the problem.
Child poverty will increase – be in no doubt about that – if we implement welfare reform.
VIEW, as an independent social affairs magazine, will continue to highlight this issue and raise our concerns.
If you would like to sponsor our Stormont launch and receive a copy of the VIEW printed issue on child poverty, please contact Una Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org