Creating the Good Economy For Life - Working Poverty

L-R: William Crawley, Jack Monroe, Tom MacInnes (NPI) and Lisa McElherron (NICVA)
PDF icon Factsheet on Working Poverty34.66 KB

NICVA's Centre for Economic Empowerment (CEE) held a major conference on Wednesday 28 May 2014, on Working Poverty looking at the extent and causes of in-work poverty in Northern Ireland and potential solutions.

Tom MacInnes gave a statistical overview of the issue and showed that for the first time, working households now make up a majority of those in poverty. He argued that factors such as low levels of pay and underemployment have contributed to the rise of in-work poverty. You can find Tom's full presentation below:


Graeme Harrison looked at possible economic solutions to in-work poverty. Graeme called for more alignment between social and economic policy, to ensure progress on both economic growth and poverty. Solutions, he said, exist in linking pay levels to productivity, making dual-working families more feasible, and increasing skill levels to boost employability.



Finally, Jack Monroe gave a moving speech about her personal experience of poverty, and having to provide for a young child while relying on foodbanks, avoiding debt-collectors, and trying to find a job. Jack spoke out against payday loans, zero-hours contracts and welfare reform. Jack also talked about the damaging affects of the negative portrayal of people in poverty in parts of the media and political system. Poverty, she said, shouldn't exist in a country as rich as the UK. You can listen to Jack's speech here.

Lisa McElherron, head of Public Affairs at NICVA said:

“We were really pleased to have Jack Monroe speaking at our conference. Her story is one that could happen to any of us. With her input, and views from Graeme Harrison and Tom MacInnes, this conference gave a fresh perspective on what poverty means in 2014."

Speaking about the discussion that took place during the conference Lisa said:

“Some of the possible solutions to working poverty that were mentioned included bringing a living wage to Northern Ireland, providing universal childcare and ensuring that affordable housing is in place. I am happy to say that these are some of the research projects that NICVA is currently working on.”

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