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CAP goes to the Party Conferences

calendar21 October 2021

CAP goes to the Party Conferences

Both the Labour and Conservative parties recently held their conferences in Brighton and Manchester respectively. Rachel Gregory, CAP's Policy Manager, attended both as a representative of the charity. Here are some of the key points discussed at both.

In the fringe programmes this year, there were clear standout topics. At the Labour conference, Net Zero and the environment took the top bill, with other various themes around the ambition for a more inclusive and fairer economy and society also prominent. These were strong themes across the Conservative conference fringe too, but in Manchester it was ‘levelling up’ that everyone was talking about.

Skills, wages and ‘hardworking families’

It was policies for workers that dominated at both conferences, with a particular focus on skills and wages. Labour members voted in favour of raising the minimum wage to £15 an hour, and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP, also centered his speech on ambitions to become a high-wage economy. Both parties were keen to stake their claim as the party of workers, with sound economic plans.

The road to recovery

The state of public finances and the strength of the economic recovery post-pandemic were big concerns at both events, and there was agreement that it was not just national debt that needed attention but also the state of household finances.

CAP held an event with the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP, and the Centre for Social Justice, asking how we will rebuild the UK’s financial health. There were common ideas on this front cutting through at both conferences, including improving access to affordable credit (including a no- and low-interest loan scheme), building financial resilience through saving and addressing the poverty premium, as well as reforming how debts owed by individuals to the Government are collected and writing off historic Tax Credit debts being transferred across to Universal Credit.

Will we inevitably be worse off?

The pressure that the rising cost of living will present in the coming months, perhaps even years, was the elephant in the room. Despite gas prices dominating the news, housing costs in particular were highest on the list of concerns and various ideas of how to reform the planning system were bandied about.

Households have not experienced real inflationary pressure in more than a decade, and if this is coupled with an interest rate rise, this could well push even people on modest incomes over the edge into financial difficulty. Our Chief Executive, Paula Stringer, spoke of the need for a strategic action plan based on sound measurement of financial wellbeing in communities. This would help understanding of what financial health looks like and how we all, businesses, government and civil society, have a role in making that happen. As we all return to our day jobs with new ideas and connections made, that’s the task that now faces us.

Read Rachel Gregory's full review of the party conferences and more from our External Affairs team on their blog.

News about our head office

calendar13 October 2021

News about our head office

We have some important news to share about how God has provided for CAP by meeting a major need.

For some time now, we’ve faced significant challenges connected to our head office buildings, Jubilee Mill and Jubilee Centre, no longer meeting our needs as an organisation. While we love Jubilee Mill, attempting to reconfigure the building to match our unique and growing needs has proven not to be financially sustainable.

Even with the increase in hybrid and remote working, it’s still really important for us to have a suitable site for our staff to work together now and in the future, so that we can continue to deliver help to our clients and equip churches to transform their local communities.

Having looked carefully at all the options, we found that the best way forward was to relocate, preferably into one single building with better accessibility for all, including, importantly, disability access.

And, praise God, we found a building that met these needs, within our budget, and still in our home town of Bradford. In fact, it’s only a mile down the road from our current location, in the former offices of a local building society.

So what are the next steps? We’ve sold one of our existing buildings already, and we hope to be able to move in to our new home at the start of next summer. This gives us some time to get the new building ready to use.

Of course we’ll update all our supporters, clients and partner churches with the details of our new address. But in the meantime, we wanted to say how grateful we are to have found this answer to our prayers.

CAP is going to be on Songs of Praise on 24 October

calendar30 September 2021

CAP is going to be on Songs of Praise on 24 October

Exciting news!

On Sunday 24 October, CAP is going to be featured on BBC One’s Songs of Praise as part of our 25-year anniversary celebrations – and it’s one not to be missed.

The slot features interviews from our UK Chief Executive, Paula Stringer, who caught up with presenter James Lusted to share about all God is doing through local churches who are tackling poverty in their communities.

You won’t want to miss Simon’s powerful story, either. Simon is one of our brilliant client storytellers who became debt free through CAP, and he’ll be sharing about how being surrounded by the love and acceptance of his local church enabled him to grow and flourish. Now, Simon’s life is overflowing with the joy of Christ, and he continues to pour out this joy to everyone around him.

Don’t miss it! BBC One. Sunday 24 October. Songs of Praise.

This is our story: the impact of poverty in a pandemic

calendar28 April 2021

This is our story: the impact of poverty in a pandemic

Today we’re releasing the ‘Our story’ report, which shows how poverty in the COVID-19 pandemic is destroying lives across the UK.

Read the report

 

 

We asked our clients about their lives before they got debt help. Over a quarter (28%) considered or attempted suicide before seeking debt help. Over a third (37%) sacrificed meals because they couldn't afford to eat. Over half (58%) felt trapped in poverty with nobody to turn to when they had a problem.

Young people were the least likely age group to seek help despite them being among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Only 8% of CAP clients in 2020 were aged between 18-25.

Former CAP client, Paula Goddard, from Colchester explains how debt impacted her family: ‘My husband and I worked for the same company and we were both made redundant. After the redundancy the debts started building; rent arrears, Council Tax arrears, doorstep loans, catalogue loans. We were missing meals four or five nights a week so that the kids could have dinner. I didn’t want to go out, I couldn’t speak to anyone on the phone. It was a horrendous time.’

Our UK Chief Executive, Paula Stringer, says: ‘Our latest report gives just a glimpse of how much the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s lives. I believe there are millions more families in debt across the UK still suffering in silence.’

During the pandemic, debt help charities like CAP are continuing to work tirelessly to free people from the chains of poverty. Christians Against Poverty helped over 16,000 people in 2020. Over 280 local CAP Debt Centres are continuing to work alongside those in the community who’re struggling, and CAP ran over 800 budgeting courses to help equip people with the tools they need to stay out of debt. Over 2,500 people still went debt free despite the pandemic.

Despite all the challenges of the last year, we want everyone to know there is hope. There are charities out there who can offer free, expert help out of debt. Getting debt help can quickly relieve the pressure, ease the strain on people's mental health and help them get their lives back on track.

Read the report

Simplify the solution

calendar09 February 2021

Simplify the solution

We believe debt relief must be effective, accessible and affordable. That’s why CAP is committed to simplifying the solution to problem debt.

CAP’s debt help service supports people in finding a route forward (like former clients Denis and Penny, shown in the image). Often, this is through an insolvency solution that provides a fresh start for people with insurmountable financial difficulty. However, too many people face roadblocks that make finding a route out of debt impossible.

Our latest report Simplify the solution presents CAP clients’ experiences of accessing debt relief through an insolvency solution and examines the roadblocks that they face.

Click here to read Simplify the solution, where you can also see our proposals on how to improve the Debt Relief Order and ensure debt relief really helps those who desperately need it.  

You can help make a fairer system for people trapped in poverty! Add your voice to our campaign today, and tell your local MP that you want DROs to be accessible for those who need them. Use our ready-made template to email your MP.

*Photograph taken by Kathryn Anne Photography

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