Working for change
The independent advice network is working to give a voice to people in Northern Ireland who are adversely affected by social policies such as social security, housing and income adequacy.
Why this matters
Food banks fulfil a vital role as they help to support people who find themselves or their families without food. Over the last few years particularly as a result of the economic downturn there has been a rapid growth of food banks providing emergency help and assistance to people across Northern Ireland. In order to help understand the rise in reliance of people on emergency food Advice NI has carried out research.
Check out the facts on Welfare Reform
UK out-of-work benefits are too generous and accommodate lavish lifestyles.
At present rates for JSA and Income Support are:
£57.90pw for single claimant under 25
£73.10pw for a single claimant over 25
£114.85pw for a couple
A part-time job of 16 hours per week on the current national living wage of £7.20ph = £115.20pw
As of April 2015 the median weekly wage for Northern Ireland was £383pw (source NISRA) – Basic amounts for out of work benefits such as Income Support and Jobseekers Allowance as percentages of this:
Under 25: 15.12% Over 25: 19.09% Couple: 29.99%
The basic amount a couple without dependents claiming JSA is less than a third of the NI median weekly wage for a single adult worker.
The average Minimum Income Standard (MIS) for a single, working age adult was found to be £164.41 (this excludes housing costs). Research conducted in 2009 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation defines MIS as the income people need in order to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.
Why this matters
The Northern Ireland (Welfare Reform) Act was given Royal Assent on 25th November 2015. This provides for significant changes to the benefits system.