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Crushed by the Cost-of-Living Crisis: The Time to Act is Now organised by Ulster University academic and anti-poverty campaigner, Dr Ciara Fitzpatrick, the Women’s Support Network and the British Association of Social Workers NI and took place in Stormont on 21st September.

The event featured a series of presentations outlining the lived reality of poverty and examined the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on housing, health and social care, energy, work, social security, children and families.

Dr Fitzpatrick said the people of Northern Ireland “are facing a crisis of epic proportions”.  “Without leadership and action from the politicians that represent us all, we risk seeing thousands more households facing the indignity of destitution this winter.  The emergency response measures that we are proposing are costed for a period of six months between October 2022 and April 2023.  “We are suggesting that the money that is currently stuck in the Department of Finance due to the absence of a NI Executive is used to fund the measures to prevent significant societal repercussions of a major poverty crisis.”

MLAs in attendance were presented with four costed emergency measures designed to protect low-income households from the worst effects of the crisis.

  • Pause social security debt for six months;
  • Reinstate the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and extend it to legacy benefits;
  • A one-off payment of £500 to those entitled to disability benefits or carer’s allowance;
  • Remove the two-child limit for Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit.

NIRWN has signed an open letter with 100 other charities, community groups and academics calling for a new Executive to be formed to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

The letter is calling for the formation of a new Executive to set a multi-year budget and introduce solutions to help local people who are struggling to meet the growing cost of essentials. Local households of all shapes and sizes are being pummelled by rising costs and urgently need support.

Click here to view the letter

Write to your local MLAs to ask them to take action on the Cost-of-Living Crisis by implementing the four key asks outlined above.

Click here to download a template letter setting out the four key asks and expressing your desire for your local MLAs to take action to protect people in Northern Ireland from the impact of this.