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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 05:21 GMT 06:21 UK
Benefits increase 'mere peanuts'
Calculator and coins
Campaigners said the increase was an insult
Anti-poverty campaigners are set to protest over "miserly increases" for those in receipt of benefits.

They will be handing out peanuts to people to reflect the "smallest rise for at least 30 years".

A protest is planned for outside the Social Security Offices on Royal Avenue in Belfast on Wednesday.

Campaigners said a single person aged over 25 on Jobseeker's Allowance would receive a 55p increase giving a total of 56.20 per week.

The Organisation of the Unemployed: NI (OUNI) and the Northern Ireland Anti-poverty Network (NIAPN) said some of the poorest in society were being disadvantaged.

Given the fact NI people already pay higher prices for household necessities, 55p per week will do very little to alleviate poverty
Frances Dowds
Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network

Lynn Carvill of the OUNI said: "Benefits are not linked to wages or even prices, so inequality is built into the system.

"Benefit levels currently stand at around 11% of average earnings, compelling people to live in poverty.

"The mantra of the government has been 'work for those who can and security for those who can't'."

Frances Dowds from the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network said the increase was an insult.

"Given that we are about to see water charges introduced and the fact the people in Northern Ireland already pay higher prices for household necessities, 55p per week will do very little to alleviate poverty," she said.

The "peanuts4benefits" campaigners would continue to press government to tackle adult poverty with a substantial rise in benefit payments, she said.

Benefit frauds 'cheat NI public'
21 Mar 05 |  Northern Ireland

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