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Policy Watch

An eye on policy changes in Ireland, the UK and beyond

Race and Ethnic Disparities in NI and the UK | Food Poverty in NI and the UK

General  |  Thu May 06 2021

Race and Ethnic Disparities in NI and the UK

Contrary to the government's recent, much-criticised Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report, a new opinion poll found that almost half of adults believe systemic racism is common in the UK.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee launched a call for evidence regarding the experience of minority ethnic and migrant people here, with a deadline of 21 May.

In a somewhat related matter, Justice Minister Naomi Long, addressing fellow MLAs at Stormont, said that work on a stand-alone hate crime bill to be presented next term is underway, along with non-legislative measures around providing a sustainable hate crime advocacy service, creating a victims of crime commissioner and input to the UK's online safety Bill.

Food Poverty in NI and the UK

In the year preceding end March 2021, Trussell Trust NI distributed more than 79,000 emergency food parcels -- including 31,000 for children -- due to people not having enough money for the basics. This was up 75% on the previous year's figure, and was double that for 2015/16. Local medical and charity figures raised concerns about the ongoing need for emergency food and support to struggling families as NI emerges from lockdown.

An independent Food Aid Network spokesperson in England called for more government action, saying "now more than ever, our social security system needs to be reset, local authority support schemes involving crisis grants prioritised and adequate wages and secure work ensured".

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