The candidate for the Foyle DEA said: “It is a disgrace that elected representatives committed to tackling poverty have no meaningful avenue to do so while the DUP and Sinn Féin continue to prioritize their standoff.
“These statistics confirm that 292,000 adults and 85,000 children continue to live in relative poverty here in Northern Ireland.
“With the implementation of welfare cuts dubbed ‘welfare reform’, the four fold increase in rent arrears already hurting the 175 families being forced to pay the bedroom tax and the cliff edge looming for 10s of 1000s of families in less than a year when mitigations run out, these figures are set to increase.
“All the press statements and election stunts in the world can’t hide the truth – that it will be impossible to tackle poverty without a functioning Executive and Assembly.
“Rather than putting all of their energy into blaming each other for the political shambles we’re in, the DUP and Sinn Féin should sit down, sort their differences and put the needs of vulnerable, low income and working families first.
“When you tackle poverty, you can begin to transform lives.
“This is why the SDLP has consistently called for a standalone Anti-Poverty Strategy, with clear cross cutting targets focusing on health, education, employment and housing,” added Mrs Barr.