Covid deepening inequalities
On 15 December the UK's Institute of Health Equity published its Build Back Fairer report (the Marmot review), with evidence of how Covid and the government's response to it have amplified previously documented inequalities. On the heels of press reporting that the richest 1% of the UK population hold almost a quarter of all household wealth, the Institute for Fiscal Studies published a New Year's update from its ongoing 5-year study of inequality in the UK. It illustrated how pre-existing inequalities between people -- related to their income, education, location, age and ethnicity -- have led to disparities in their level of vulnerability to the pandemic. It will be publishing thematic reports with specific targeted policy responses for this "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to combat the inequalities exposed by the pandemic.
Children and deprivation
Here, an NI Assembly question by the SDLP's Mark Durkan revealed that in 2018-19, 121,000 young people were deemed to be living in relative poverty after housing costs. He warned the economic impact of the pandemic will only push more children into deprivation. In mid-December the Children's Law Centre, on behalf of a range of NI groups including PPR, submitted a stakeholder report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to inform its review of the UK's record on children's rights.
NI's Department of Education will provide Free School Meals funding to the families of eligible children during the current lockdown.
Black Lives Matter
BLM protestors here sued to recover fines charged plus damages after the police ombudsman found the PSNI had handled the protest in a discriminatory manner. The PSNI chief constable apologised for the service's handing of the demonstrations in Belfast and Derry, but the fines and cautions against protestors reportedly remained in force.