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UK News

Christian groups react to Spring Budget

by Tola Mbakwe

After announcing a 2p cut in national insurance in the Spring Budget on Wednesday, the Chancellor has said he wants to eventually scrap it altogether.

Jeremy Hunt has said he thinks it’s a double tax on work, because it’s taken out of pay packets along with income tax.

Hunt said the initial NI reduction would help encourage people back to work and deliver a high wage, high skill economy.

The cut, effective from April, would be worth about £450 a year for an employee and £350 someone self-employed.

"We need a simpler, fairer tax system that makes work pay," Hunt told parliament.

Here’s what some Christian organisations had to say about the Budget:

Claire Walker, chief executive of the National Churches Trust:

“It is disappointing that support for church buildings have been overlooked in the spring budget. The closure of many church buildings is the single biggest heritage challenge right now, with many churches, chapels and meeting houses at risk of falling into disrepair and being forced to close.”

“Churches play a vital role in communities, providing not just spiritual comfort but vital services to local people, such as food banks and warm spaces. Churches contribute £55 billion towards economic and social good each year. Sadly, the burden of keeping these wonderful buildings open and in good repair falls largely to the congregation – and to volunteers.”

Helen Barnard, director of policy at the Trussell Trust:

“We welcome the Chancellor’s action today to extend the Household Support Fund and reduce the burden of debt deductions facing households on the lowest incomes. This will provide short-term relief to some. However, we are disappointed that the Chancellor has offered only temporary sticking plasters instead of long-term solutions to the crisis of rising hunger, hardship, and debt.

“The extension of the Household Support Fund is only for six months. When it ends, councils and charities will be left scrambling to fill an even bigger gap. More people are likely to fall into unaffordable debt, be unable to afford essentials, and have no choice but to turn to food banks – who are already at breaking point.

Sophie Powell, chief of UK advocacy at Christian Aid:

“This budget demonstrates a poverty of ideas. The Chancellor has made a deliberate choice to tie the government’s own hands rather than mobilise the resources needed to address the spiralling, and inter-connected, crises of inequality and climate change. 

“He should have taxed the wealthiest and the biggest polluters to fund the UK’s fair share of international climate finance. He should have agreed to cancel debts for the poorest countries. That is the ambition we so urgently need, not the same old pretence of there being no other way.”

Tracy Porter, social justice campaigner at Church Action on Poverty:

“We need to commit to meaningful co-production policies with people who have experienced the impact of previous policies. I would also like to see more done to increase digital inclusion. So many people have not got the same access, and that means their opportunities are limited, whereas if they had equal access then people could achieve more.

“It affects young people at school and also older people, who maybe are told to use technology to do tasks and send things. It’s not just about having the technology, but also knowing how to use it.

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