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REX/Steve Back
UK News

Christian poverty campaigner condemns further government cuts

George Osborne has agreed a 30% reduction in spending over the next four years for the Treasury and the departments for Transport, Environment and Communities and Local Government.

In a speech in London, the Chancellor said: "If our country doesn't bring the deficit down, the deficit could bring our country down.

"A surplus will make our country more resilient, safe and secure. It means that next time we have the money to help us through the tough times when the storms come."

But Revd Paul Nicholson told Premier's News Hour: "If you cut government funding for transport, that means private transport puts its prices up and that hits the poorest very hard indeed."

Savings are expected to be made in day-to-day expenditure and 'low value programmes', but Revd Nicholson says they will still have a huge impact.

"I would like to see what the definition of a low value programme is, I may have a strong difference of opinion with George Osborne on what that means."

Revd Nicholson is adamant that inequality in the UK is being driven by a housing crisis.

"I live in Harringay and 58% of the households here are tenants. Across the whole of London 47% are tenants, and in the whole of England 33%.

"They have had their housing benefit cut. They've had their [pay rises] frozen very often at 1%. Then you have got council tax and the enforcement costs of council tax.

"Meanwhile, if you own your home you are becoming more wealthy."

Revd Nicholson believes Christians have an obligation to get involved in the lives of people who are struggling with a view to change our society for the better.

"We are in a business, if you like, to love everybody and put the poor first.

"If you are going carry out your duty as a Christian you have got to understand the details of how poverty in the United Kingdom is impacting on people.

So go and find out about how the debts are enforced against them, about how they have rent arrears, about how they have council tax arrears, how sometimes they are sanctioned and before they were sanctioned they were trying to pay off a fine for not having a TV licence.

"It is not good at all."

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