Cost of living crisis: Faith and charities call for ‘direct support’ for Britain’s poorest households

Economists and commentators have questioned the effectiveness of the plans but warn the energy bill freeze could cost more than £100bn.

“Low-income households need targeted financial support that reflects family size and needs,” the letter continues, “distributed quickly and in sufficient amounts to enable families to lead decent lives this winter and beyond.”

The government announced one-off payments to support households through the subsistence crisis in the spring, before inflation topped 10 percent for the first time in decades and the full extent of skyrocketing energy costs became apparent.

Economic research accompanying the letter shows households on Universal Credit will need an extra £1,391 over the next six months “to stay warm and fed”.

More than one in five people lived in poverty in early 2022, a number expected to be even higher as nights grow cold.

“We believe that concerted action can turn the tide of poverty, get us through this winter and set us on the path to a poverty-free Britain,” the letter concludes. “The government has the tools to make this happen and it needs to use them now.”

Get the latest news and insights into the making of Big Issue magazine from Sign up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter

The full letter and list of signatories read:

As faith groups, charities, unions and frontline organizations, we have seen the cost of living escalating not only in the statistics but in the lives of the people we meet every day, at food banks, debt centers and in our houses of worship. The least affluent in our communities are facing the sharpest end of this crisis, being dragged into misery without substantial support.

It is the prime minister’s urgent moral responsibility to ensure that the poorest earners have enough to live on in the coming months. Rising costs affect everyone, but for those who have already struggled to stay afloat, this winter’s challenges will be a matter of life and death.

The one on the 8thth September, while welcome, hasn’t gone far enough. Analysis published today by Prof Donald Hirsch shows the average family of four receiving Universal Credit will need another £1,391 over the next six months to stay warm and fed. Low-income households need targeted financial support that takes into account family size and needs, and is distributed quickly and in sufficient amounts to enable families to lead decent lives this winter and beyond.

An increase in poverty and misery due to this crisis is not inevitable if government, business and civil society recognize this emergency and act now. We believe that concerted action can turn the tide of poverty, get us through this winter and set us on the path to a poverty-free Britain. The government has the tools to do this and it must use them now.

Signed by:

Rabbi Robyn Ashworth SteedChairman, Tzelem: The Rabbinic and Cantorial Call for Social and Economic Justice in the UK

Rabbi Charley BaginskyChief Executive Officer, Liberal Judaism

Rev. Fiona BennettModerator of the General Assembly, United Reformed Church

Rabbi Rebecca BirkCo-Chairman, Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors

Anna BlandTeam Leader, Leeds Sanctuary

Antony BoatengVice-President of the Conference, The Methodist Church in Britain

dr Nicholas BradySecretary General, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

Rabbi Janet BurdenRabbi Emerita, Ealing Liberal Synagogue

Heidi ChouExecutive Director, Debt Justice

Niall CooperDirector, Church Action on Poverty

Kevin Courtney and Dr. Mary BustedJoint Secretaries-General, National Education Union

Sister Colette CroninDirector, Institute of Our Lady of Mercy

colin dateVice Chair, Christian Concern for One World

Sister Lynda Dearlove rsmExecutive Director, [email protected]

Claire DonovanHead of Research, Policy & Campaigns, End Furniture Poverty

Bishop Terry DraineyChairman and Bishop, Catholic Social Action Network & RC Diocese of Middlesbrough

Alison GarnhamChief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group

Ben GilchristChairman of the Board of Caritas Shrewsbury

Rabbi Aaron GoldsteinChief Rabbi, The Ark Synagogue

Rev. James GreenManaging Director, Together Liverpool

Rev Lynn GreenSecretary General, Baptist Union of Great Britain

Mia Hasenson-GrossDirector, Rene Cassin

Rev. Ruth HarveyLeader, The Iona Community

Joseph Howes, CEO, ButtleUK

Imran HusseinPolicy and Campaigns Director, Action for Children

Rabbi Richard JacobiParish Vicar, East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue

Rabbi Neil JanesRabbi, South Bucks Jewish Community (part of Liberal Judaism)

Most Reverend Andrew JohnArchbishop of Wales, The Church in Wales

Rabbi Gabriel Kanter-WebberMinister, Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue

Mr. Rajnish Kashyap MCICMSecretary General of the Hindu Council UK

Pete KellyDirector, Poverty Alliance

Paul KissakChairman of the Board of Directors of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Rabbi Monique MayerBristol and West Progressive Jewish Congregation

Gareth McNabHead of State Department, Christians Against Poverty

Paul McNameeEditor, The Big Problem

Rabbi Leah MühlsteinChief Rabbi, The Ark Synagogue

Sara MohammedSecretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

Patrick O’DowdDirector, Caritas Diocese of Salford

Helen O’Sheanational president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society

Emma RevieCEO, The Trussell Trust

Father Dominic Robinson SJChairman, Archdiocese of Westminster Justice and Peace

Rev. Paul RochesterGeneral Secretary, Free Church Group

Rev Ian RutherfordChairman of the Greater Manchester Food Security Action Network and Minister for City Centre, Methodist Central Hall Manchester.

Adam scorerChief Executive, National Energy Action

Mr Paul SouthgateChair of the Board of Trustees, The National Justice and Peace Network

Reverend Mark StrangeBishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Primus, Scottish Episcopal Church

anna taylor, Executive Director, The Food Foundation

The Rev Graham ThompsonPresident of the Methodist Conference, The Methodist Church of Britain

Reverend James ToutChaplain to the Archbishop of Wales, The Church in Wales

Father Adrian TuckwellCharities Hexham and Newcastle

Jo Wittams, Co-Executive Director, The Equality Trust”

Comments are closed.