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Real shock over poverty is inaction of leaders

I write regarding Connla Young's article (29/7) on average wages and "fuel poverty" in Northern Ireland.

What is shocking about poverty here is not the statistics, but the inaction of political leaders to do anything about it.

Every time "shock new figures" come out, there is a minister on hand to tell us how committed the Executive is to tackling poverty, but actions taken since the restoration of devolution show a different story.

This is not just a matter for politicians. Officials need to ask themselves: is it not time for a re-assessment of which public services are delivered and how?

Campaign groups need to ask themselves, likewise, is it not time for a re-assessment of how they demonstrate value as proactive players in practice rather than reactive lobbyists in theory? Citizens need to ask themselves if it would really be so bad if we paid for prescriptions or water infrastructure if the outcome were a better service and a society where more people are able to contribute rather than take away?

Ian James Parsley



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