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

Ahead of the Government's Autumn Statement, TheBaptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, theMethodist Church and the United Reformed Church are calling forassurances that families will be protected from the expected risein inflation.
• Benefit Freeze exposes poorest families to full force ofrising inflation.
• 4 million families, with 7.5 million children face furtherunplanned benefit cuts.
• Church leaders call on chancellor "to bring this benefit cutunder control"
Ahead of the Autumn Statement Church leaders are calling forthe chancellor to not allow higher than expected inflation tofurther erode the value of benefits.

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

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

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

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

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church & SocietyCouncil of the Church of Scotland said "Keeping a family fed takesup more and more of low income family budgets. Many parents arealready going without to ensure their children are fed. The cost offood is rising and more and more do not have enough to eat. Adecent welfare system must ensure that is not the case. Benefitsneed to keep pace with the rise of food costs."

Rev Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader of the BaptistUnion of Great Britain said "There are already record numbers ofpeople seeking emergency help from foodbanks and church run nightshelters are seeing increasing demand. 
If the benefit system is to do its job of supporting familiesthrough difficult times there must be a link between the price offood and shelter and the valueof benefits.

The alternative is more hunger and more ill health. We must notlet people's God given potential to be allowed to go to wastebecause of poverty." 
  • Paul Morrison is available for interview - contact Mike Ivattvia email or on 0207 467 5191.
  • The Joint Public Issues Team combines the expertise of theBaptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and theUnited Reformed Church in the area of public issues, representingmore than 800,000 people in the UK