Dickson Questions What More Could be Done to Tackle Poverty and Low Pay in NI
East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has voiced concern over the inadequacy of current engagement with social partners in addressing poverty and low pay, and in developing economic policy, in Northern Ireland.
Mr Dickson said: “Social partners have a vital role to play in our economy, and yet collaboration with the Department for the Economy seems to be minimal. It is the people of Northern Ireland that will miss out if this continues – particularly the most financially vulnerable in our society.”
Mr Dickson posed a question to the Minister for the Economy in relation to this issue, saying: “I was thoroughly unimpressed by the response I received from the Minister. Once again, she has shown her complete lack of ambition in her post as a Minister with a central responsibility for improving the lives of Northern Irish people.”
Mr Dickson explained that: “The Minister’s response shirked responsibility for addressing poverty and low pay, by passing the buck onto the Department for Communities.
“Whilst I am pleased to see that Communities is compiling an Anti-Poverty Strategy, I continue to have concerns that departments are operating in silos, and that social partners are not being engaged with enough to ensure the finished product is a joined up and fit-for-purpose strategy.”
Mr Dickson lamented that: “This is yet another example of the Minister for the Economy doing the bare minimum and allowing our most vulnerable to suffer the consequences.”