Mini Budget’ won’t help poorest survive rising costs

published on 23 Sep 2022

Responding to today’s ‘Mini-Budget’ from the Government, The Salvation Army Lt Colonel Drew McCombe said:

“While we welcome the Government's commitment to tackling the cost of living crisis, today’s measures will have little effect on the lives of those that need to use our foodbanks, homeless support and debt advice services

“Every day, up and down the country, we have been providing essentials like food, coats, shoes, even bedding to struggling families. We will always do our best to give someone emergency support, but while a food parcel helps a family cope for another week what’s desperately needed is more Government support for those living hand to mouth.

“Moreover, while the Government is right to focus on encouraging people into employment, there was no mention of additional support to help people back into work.   There are 1.74 million who want to work but are ‘locked out’ of the job market through no fault of their own such as a lack of relevant skills, childcare responsibilities or living in an area where traditional industries have shut down. 

“We are also concerned that tightening Universal Credit conditions for people working 12 to 15 hours a week risks simply trapping them in low-paid jobs and still struggling with rising prices. 

“To help people survive the cost of living crisis, benefits must urgently be raised in line with inflation so people can afford to feed their families and pay their bills, and those desperate to work must be helped into jobs with decent pay. This is not only the morally right thing to do but also financially right as increased prosperity for all means everyone can contribute to boosting the economy.”

The Salvation Army is calling for emergency measures to ensure people can afford the cost of living including: 

  • All benefits for people on low incomes to keep up with inflation.
  • An increase in housing benefit, so it covers the full cost of rent.
  • Existing Universal Credit debt to be covered in the Government's 60-day 'Breathing Space' scheme, giving people more time to make repayments.

The Salvation Army is also calling for measures to support people into work including:

  • Expansion of free childcare provision, so parents can work or train.
  • Mandating local leaders to set targets to reduce economic inactivity through Levelling Up funds to help people that have been excluded from the job market.
  • A new cross-Government task force to tackle, with empathy and compassion, the reasons people are not earning and are trapped in poverty.
an older woman counting out her pennies

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