Autumn Statement: the state safety net is being ripped open
published on 17 Nov 2022
The Salvation Army warns poverty is growing at such a rate that state support and voluntary organisations are struggling to keep up with demand.
The Salvation Army Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant said:
"Measures announced in today's Autumn Statement shows that while the state is trying to help, its ability to stop the creep of poverty has been dangerously reduced due to rising inflation and the overall bleak economic outlook.
"The Salvation Army welcomes measures to uprate benefits in line with inflation, provide additional cost of living payments (including energy), and explore the barriers driving economic inactivity. We have long argued for this emergency support to help the most vulnerable.
“However, the impact of poverty is creeping further into our communities. Our officers are already seeing the people who used to donate to our food banks are now queuing for food parcels, working parents unable to afford warm coats and school uniforms, and young people coming to our churches and community centres for warmth.
"As well as supporting people living hand to mouth, we are especially concerned about the impact on the infrastructure designed to support people. Essential services like homelessness, addiction, mental health and employment support are already overwhelmed. Inflation means that small budgets are shrinking as history tells us demand will increase in key areas like our homelessness services as economic growth falls.
“The most vulnerable people often have extremely complex problems which need the wrap around support that The Salvation Army and other community-based groups address every day of the year.
"People need the help of churches and charities more than ever before. We are packing food parcels, providing hot meals, providing debt advice, and listening to people struggling to comprehend how they can no longer make ends meet. Above all, we are praying we can meet the need that is growing day by day.”