21 November 2016

“Benefits freeze is putting the poorest in the way of economic harm”

Ahead of the Government's Autumn Statement, The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church are calling for assurances that families will be protected from the expected rise in inflation.
• Benefit Freeze exposes poorest families to full force of rising inflation.
• 4 million families, with 7.5 million children face further unplanned benefit cuts.
• Church leaders call on chancellor "to bring this benefit cut under control"
Ahead of the Autumn Statement Church leaders are calling for the chancellor to not allow higher than expected inflation to further erode the value of benefits.

Most working age benefits are frozen in cash terms for the next 4 years, allowing their value to be eroded by inflation year on year. This will cut the level of the support available to more than 4 million families containing at least 7.5 million children. 

Rachel Lampard, Vice President of the Methodist Conference said "The benefits freeze is putting the poorest in the way of economic harm. In January when Parliament voted to freeze benefits inflation was low, stable and predicted to remain low. Today the economic outlook is very different." 

Rising inflation will mean 7.5 million children will be hit by cuts harder and faster than was ever intended. It is time this huge cut was brought under control"

The Bank of England predicts that the prices of basic goods such as food will be the first to rise as result of the fall in the value of the pound.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church & Society Council of the Church of Scotland said "Keeping a family fed takes up more and more of low income family budgets. Many parents are already going without to ensure their children are fed. The cost of food is rising and more and more do not have enough to eat. A decent welfare system must ensure that is not the case. Benefits need to keep pace with the rise of food costs."

Rev Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader of the Baptist Union of Great Britain said "There are already record numbers of people seeking emergency help from foodbanks and church run night shelters are seeing increasing demand. 
If the benefit system is to do its job of supporting families through difficult times there must be a link between the price of food and shelter and the value of benefits.

The alternative is more hunger and more ill health. We must not let people's God given potential to be allowed to go to waste because of poverty." 
  • Paul Morrison is available for interview - contact Mike Ivatt via email or on 0207 467 5191.
  • The Joint Public Issues Team combines the expertise of the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church in the area of public issues, representing more than 800,000 people in the UK

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