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Now we get to work: Welcoming in the new Government

A key message from CAP’s Social Policy Manager, Kiri Adams, as we welcome the new Labour Government. 

Kiri: Hello campaigning community. My name is Kiri Adams and I am CAP’s Social Policy Manager. I work in the External Affairs team, and my role is to be leading our policy section. This is the team that put forward policy recommendations, ideas for change, to people in power. So, no doubt you’ll know it’s been a very busy season!

In the run up to the general election, we spent a lot of time thinking about the new Government, who it might be that’s in power, and also reviewing the manifesto commitments made by all the political parties. These are sort of sets of commitments that each party will lay out to say If I get in power, this is what I would do.’

Now we know we have a Labour Government, and so we’ve had another quick look through what the Labour Party manifesto talked about and what it committed to, and today we’re going to share a little bit with you about what we’re excited about, and some things that we were a little disappointed in.

So the first thing to say is that there were some really good things in the Labour Manifesto. One of them is that they were committing to review Universal Credit. This is a form of social security and right now there’s a few elements of Universal Credit which makes it not super fit for purpose. The good thing is, Labour are committing to review it, to make sure that work always pays and to make sure that it reduces poverty.

We are really excited to see that, because right now we know that a lot of people living on social security are facing poverty and are struggling. 

Another good thing that Labour committed to was to be looking at how they can end the need for food banks. I’m sure you’d agree with me that it’s not OK that people in our society are relying on having to go to food banks each week in order to fill their bellies. So it’s great to see that Labour are wanting to commit to end them.

And also they’ve committed to develop a child poverty strategy. Now we don’t know loads of details on this, but they want to develop a strategy to stop and reduce the number of children that are living in poverty. Obviously we’re behind this and we’re really excited to work with the Government on developing this.

Keir Starmer said that he was really interested in working with churches and Christians to develop this strategy, so we’re making sure that we’re talking to the right people so we get an invite to that table.

Some other things that Labour committed to which was good, which was around wages. Right now the minimum wage is actually not that much, and it means people in low paid work aren’t getting enough to live on. So Labour have committed to making sure that the national minimum wage is reviewed and looks a bit more like the real living wage, which makes sure that the wages are paid in line with prices, in line with inflation, so that’s great.

This is also something that we’ve been calling for in our policy world for quite a long time, and so we’re excited and we’re hopeful that once this gets in, we’ll have a a reason to celebrate because that would be great news.

But like I said, there are some things in the manifesto that have been missing, such as: there’s no commitment around the benefits cap, the two child limit, other forms of social security that right now are keeping people in poverty and reducing the amount that they can receive. We think this should be ended. We should think they should get rid of it. Right now, Labour haven’t committed to doing that.

Two more things that we would like to have seen in the Labour Party manifesto, but they weren’t there. One of them was around Government debt collection and the practises that they have. Right now, Government debt collection is some of the worst in the industry, and at leaves people experiencing harm, particularly really vulnerable people.

Right now, if you owe money to the Government, things like 25% of the income that you receive in social security can be deducted at source, which leaves people with not enough to put food on the table to pay their rent and pay their energy.

We want to see Government looking at best practice across the industry and bringing in new policies and processes to make sure that when it’s collecting debt, it’s not pulling people and trapping them in deeper poverty.

And finally, we want to see social security and wages reviewed against the Minimum income Standard. This is a a measure of living standards, because right now, particularly social security is an amount that has been decided but it is not set against any real costs.

That means as the cost of energy, as the cost of food increases, there is no mechanism to make sure that social security increases at that same rate. We want to see some better mechanisms brought in so that social security does, in fact, allow you to afford the essentials.

And ultimately, we want to see a review against this Minimum Income Standard so that the Government can see how far short social security and low pay wages are compared to, an adequate standard of living that the general public have agreed upon.

So we’re gonna keep calling for it. And we’re so grateful that you are part of our campaigning community. Thank you for watching this. Thank you for adding your voice to different calls to action.

We’re going to have more for you in the coming months, but we are so grateful that you are willing to add your voice to the masses, to advocate for the clients that we serve and other people across the UK in debt and poverty.

Stay tuned. There’s gonna be more to come, but thank you.

Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'
Ruth, Co-Debt Centre Manager

We urgently need your support to reach every person in poverty.

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