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Election reaction: Charity leader urges MPs to meet with people impacted by poverty

CAP Chief Executive Officer Stewart Mc Culloch
CAP Chief Executive Officer Stewart McCulloch 
Free debt advice charity is urging UK Government Ministers and MPs to visit one of the 250 debt centres to see first hand how poverty is devastating lives and how local churches are standing in the gap 

Christians Against Poverty’s (CAP) Chief Executive Officer, Stewart McCulloch, is urging new MPs to meet with people impacted by poverty and make tackling inadequate incomes a priority.

Over two years of high costs alongside chronically low incomes have driven millions below the poverty line. And the crisis is not over, with CAP’s recent polling conducted by YouGov in June 2024 highlighting that 21% of UK adults have skipped meals and 48% limited their electricity or gas use in the house at least once a month because of the cost. Alongside going without, people are turning to credit to pay for essentials.

CAP’s recently launched client report reveals the toll that debt and poverty have taken on people’s lives. Almost half said that debt had caused them health problems and 46% said they had even considered or attempted suicide because of it.

CAP’s Chief Executive Officer, Stewart McCulloch says: I want to congratulate all the MPs from every party on being elected — they have put themselves forward for a difficult and demanding job, for which they have our respect and can be assured of our prayers — and now they have an urgent and vital role to play in helping people on low incomes and tackling UK poverty.

Poverty is a matter of public urgency. Day in and day out we see how people are being crushed under the weight of debt by chronically low incomes, and no matter how much professional help we provide half our clients have budgets that simply can’t cover the basic essentials. 

Stewart McCulloch, CAP’s Chief Executive Officer 

CAP client Toni struggled with a range of health issues which contributed to her falling into debt: The debts mounted because I couldn’t afford to cover the cost of everything. I’d be paying off an existing loan, then something would come up, like my children would need new school uniforms. The only way around it that I could see was to take out a bigger loan to pay off the first one and have a bit left over to buy the uniforms. It would get consistently more difficult and more expensive.

Hopelessness overwhelmed me, like I was stuck in a never ending cycle. Then Guy, a debt coach from the local Christians Against Poverty centre, came to visit me and he was absolutely fantastic from day one. 

CAP client Toni 

It felt like a rock that had been pressing me down for years had been lifted off my back. I’m due to be debt free later this year and I can’t wait.”

Stewart McCulloch continued:

My message to all politicians is come and meet with people like Toni, visit one of our local debt centres and hear from our clients who have personal experience of living in debt and poverty. 

Stewart McCulloch, CAP’s Chief Executive Officer 

Hear about the enormous struggles and challenges they are facing and listen to how you can help make a difference. Meet the committed staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to address poverty in their local communities, and who increasingly need your help to bring resolution to the broken systems in society that rob people of hope and health.”

CAP’s Director of External Affairs, Gareth McNab says: We helped people right across the UK start more than 5,500 conversations with their local candidates before the election, finding out about their personal motivation to end UK poverty.

We know that the great majority of MPs share our deep motivation to do so, and the national polling we commissioned with YouGov last year showed that almost 90 percent of adults in the UK also want to see poverty tackled. 

There is clearly a great public urgency around addressing poverty, and this now needs to be a greater political priority. There are important steps that the new Labour Government can take quickly to address this. 

Gareth McNab, CAP’s Director of External Affairs. 

These include reviewing social security payments against the Minimum Income Standard and making the legal minimum wage the same level as the Real Living Wage. This will help ensure everyone has access to an income that covers their essential needs.”

As part of CAP’s work to highlight poverty issues in local communities, CAP is urging MPs to visit their local CAP debt centre and find out more about the issues people are facing.

Notes to editors

For more information or interview requests please contact CAP’s press office on 01274 760 801 or at [email protected].

Visit capuk.org/ppcmap to see where people have written to their local candidates, asking them vital questions about their stance on poverty.

Christians Against Poverty:

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity working with over 800 affiliated churches to deliver free debt help, budgeting guidance, support to find work, life skills groups and

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Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'