UK debt help charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is pleased to hear some of the UK Government’s Spending Review announcements today that will support working families living in poverty, but has three key recommendations to the Chancellor so that he can deliver on his desire that “everyone should be able to afford the essentials”.
CAP’s Director of External Affairs, Gareth McNab, says, “The announcements around incomes — increase in National Living Wage, reduction in the taper rate on Universal Credit and the increase in the work allowance within UC — are good news for low income households, and will have a real impact on in work poverty: social security doing what it should. Between them, 2 million people will see their incomes rise to the level they were at when the £20 a week uplift was in place.
“However, the rising costs of living — despite some token changes like the freezing of fuel duty — will quickly outstrip these increases in income as inflation bites hard on those on the lowest incomes, and especially those out of work for any reason. The Chancellor said just last month that “everyone should be able to afford the essentials” — and while this Budget goes a long way towards doing that for the 2m UC claimants in work right now, and for others on a low income, there are many who will be left behind.
“The Chancellor made clear that he doesn’t feel it is the Government’s place to solve every problem — and we would tend to agree. But the challenges faced by the half of CAP’s clients who are solely reliant on social security for their income — the sick and disabled, the carers and single parents, those in between jobs — still need addressing.
“The Chancellor said that the pandemic ‘“was a time to put aside ideology & orthodoxy in order to care for one another’. We are deeply concerned at the choice the Government has made to put nothing in place for the poorest in society, and would call on the Chancellor to think again. We think he needs to do three things:-
- He needs to address the basic rate of Universal Credit, and extend that support to those on legacy benefits — the levels of social security are not linked to the actual costs of living, and should be reviewed against them regularly.
- He needs to enhance further local welfare assistance schemes, building on the £500m Household Support Fund he confirmed today. These schemes need to be simple for people to access and for councils to administer, and sufficient to meet local needs.
- He should come and visit a CAP Debt Centre and see the reality of what these households are facing for himself — listen to their experiences, hear their stories, and reflect again on what part the Government could play in making their lives even a little easier.
As Christians Against Poverty, we remain committed to caring for one another in society, and encourage anyone who didn’t find the support they may have been hoping for in this Budget to contact us on 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org for free debt help now.