Belfast Telegraph

Almost one in three working-age adults in Northern Ireland jobless, says report

Joseph Rowntree Foundation said little progress had been made on reducing poverty.

Almost one in three working-age adults in Northern Ireland is jobless. a report showed.

Little progress has been made on reducing poverty and the country’s employment rate lags behind the rest of the UK, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Those out of work are much more likely to face financial difficulties.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Foundation, said: “Northern Ireland has not seen the same benefits from rising employment as the rest of Great Britain, meaning more families are locked out of opportunities to build a decent, secure life.”

The organisation said employment rates for some groups within Northern Ireland were lower than in the rest of the UK.

Northern Ireland has not seen the same benefits from rising employment as the rest of Great Britain Campbell Robb, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

“The reason for this difference is much higher levels of people who are out of work for health reasons, caring or studying, rather than a difference in unemployment, which is only slightly higher.”

The report said almost one in three adults out of work had made no progress on poverty over the last decade.

The Foundation launched its monitoring report, Poverty in Northern Ireland 2018.

Overall, 370,000 people live in scarcity, around one in five of the population – made up of 110,000 children, 220,000 working-age adults and 40,000 pensioners.

Poverty among pensioners has fallen considerably over the last decade, the research showed.

Families with children have seen steady or falling poverty rates, but working-age adults without children are at higher risk of poverty than 10 years ago.

The Foundation said raising the employment rate could lead to significant falls in poverty.

A statement said: “JRF is calling on the devolved and Westminster governments and businesses to work together to deliver an industrial strategy that creates more and better jobs.”

The report found:

– Northern Ireland has higher worklessness and lower employment than elsewhere and the proportion in poverty in workless households has increased slightly over time, in contrast to the rest of the UK.

– Over the last 20 years, employment rates in Northern Ireland have been consistently below the rest of the UK, about 5-7 percentage points lower than in England.

It fell from 70% in 2016 to 68% during the first quarter of last year.

– Scotland and Wales have closed the gap on England considerably, but Northern Ireland has fallen behind both countries – suggesting that the employment rate continues to be a major factor affecting poverty rates.

The report added: “Raising the employment rate could lead to poverty falling to a lower level than in the rest of the UK.”

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