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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 November, 2003, 09:34 GMT
Child poverty highlighted
Four out of 10 children live in poverty in Northern Ireland
Child poverty is much worse in Northern Ireland than in other parts of the United Kingdom, according to a leading charity.

A survey, commissioned by children's charity Barnardo's, suggests that four out of 10 young people in the province live in poverty.

The charity says these children are more likely to become addicts, get involved in crime and become homeless.

Fiona McMillen, from Barnardo's, said that poverty had serious implications for children's development.

"What we found is that, for children born in poverty, it's very hard for them to move on and to get out of things.

"Their health will be affected, their educational attainment will be affected, their chances of good employment will be affected.

"They will be affected by crime and by addiction, like alcohol and drugs.

"It is not just that they might become addicted themselves, it is that they are affected by other people within the community and their families."

Cost of living

Barnardo's says the level of poverty in Northern Ireland is worse than in England because more parents are on benefits.

Families are also bigger, incomes are lower and the cost of living is higher.

However, according to Barnardo's, the most disturbing finding is that very few people are even aware of the problem.

It says 86 % of those questioned did not know such a level of poverty existed.

In October 2003, a report, entitled Bare Necessities, published by think tank Democratic Dialogue, found that more than one third of all children in Northern Ireland lived below the poverty line.

It also claimed that poverty in the province was worse than either the Republic of Ireland or Great Britain, which are two of the most unequal societies in Europe.

The research was directed by professors at both the University of Ulster and Queen's University, Belfast.

Its authors concluded that Northern Ireland was "one of the most unequal societies in the developed world".

BBC NI's Maryann Maguire reports:
"Barnardo's says the level of poverty is worse than in England..."

Third of children 'live in poverty'
13 Oct 03  |  Northern Ireland
NI poverty gap 'is growing'
02 Dec 02  |  Northern Ireland
NI poverty 'must be tackled'
18 Sep 02  |  Northern Ireland

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