Belfast Telegraph

Stormont has no plan to fight poverty, High Court told

By Alan Erwin

The Stormont Executive has failed to develop an anti-poverty strategy for Northern Ireland, the High Court has heard.

Lawyers representing human rights watchdog Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) claimed no proper blueprint has been adopted to deal with social exclusion and deprivation.

Mr Justice Treacy was told the Executive has a mandatory duty to introduce a strategy centred on objective need.

The requirement was said to have been a key element of the 2006 St Andrews Agreement, which led to the restoration of the power-sharing Assembly. CAJ argues that the direct rule regime that operated before devolution was restored had such a plan, entitled Lifetime Opportunities. But it is seeking a judicial review as it claims the Executive failed to embrace this and currently has no identifiable anti-poverty strategy.

Paul McLaughlin, responding for the Executive, insisted the administration was determined to "eliminate the scourge of poverty".

The case continues.

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