The Poverty Policy Social Strategy team (Social Policy Division) has responsibility for developing, co-ordinating and driving the government's priorities for tackling poverty.

Poverty in Northern Ireland

Around 292,000 (16%) people in Northern Ireland live in relative income poverty (before housing costs) including approximately 85,000 (19%) children.  People are considered to be living in relative income poverty if the income of their household is less than 60% of the UK median household income.

14% of people in Northern Ireland live in absolute poverty before housing costs. This can be further broken down to: 16% of children, 14% of pensioners and 13% of the working age population. The causes of poverty are many and varied. People are considered to be in absolute income poverty if the income of their household is less than 60% of the UK median household income for 2010-11 (adjusted year on year for inflation). 

Lifetime Opportunities for Northern Ireland

'Lifetime Opportunities', government’s anti-poverty and social inclusion strategy for Northern Ireland, was published in November 2006.

A 'Lifetime Opportunities Monitoring Framework: Baseline Report' was published on 14 October 2010 and updated Monitoring Framework reports were published annually. 

The policy for poverty transferred from the former OFMDFM to the Department for Communities in May 2016. The Programme for Government Consultation Document and the draft Programme for Government Delivery Plan, issued for public consultation 28 October 2016 – 23 December 2016, included within the Programme for Government delivery plans are a range of actions the Executive propose to take forward, across departments, to tackle poverty.  A decision has also been taken to develop a new Social Strategy for tackling poverty, social exclusion and patterns of deprivation based on objective need, in line with Section 28e of the Northern Ireland Act.  

Child Poverty Strategy

The Life Chances Act 2010, enacted on 25 March 2010, required us to lay before the Assembly a strategy for the purpose of ensuring as far as possible that children in Northern Ireland do not experience socio-economic disadvantage and that every three years we must review the strategy and publish and lay before the Assembly a revised Northern Ireland strategy.

A Child Poverty Strategy, ‘Improving Children’s Life Chances’, was published in March 2011. A revised Child Poverty Strategy was published on 25 March 2016. The aims of the Executive’s Child Poverty Strategy 2016-19 are to reduce the number of children in poverty; and reduce the impact living in poverty on children (their lives and life chances).

In line with the Life Chances Act, we lay annual reports on the Child Poverty Strategy in the Assembly.  The annual reports can be downloaded at the links below:

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