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Church News

'Not enough is being done': Christians criticise budget as cost of living rockets

by Alex Collett

Christian organisations have responded to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's spring statement following its release. 

The Chancellor's announced a three-thousand-pound increase in the National Insurance threshold from July.

Sunak says that it will save most workers more than they stand to lose from increased contributions next month.

Fuel duty is also being cut, which should mean an immediate 5p-a-litre saving at filling stations.

However, Christian organisations have noted that Sunak announced very little help for the most vulnerable,  and failed to provide for the longer term financial security of those on the lowest incomes. 

Free UK debt help charity, Christians Against Poverty (CAP), has issued the following response to the Spring Statement.

CAP's Director of External Affairs, Gareth McNab, said: "The Chancellor said in today's Spring Statement that he wants to help people with rising costs and we are glad that he acknowledged the impact of the cost of living crisis, but he went on to announce very little to help the most vulnerable and to provide for the longer term financial security of those on the lowest incomes. 

"We welcome the change to the National Insurance threshold which will ease some of the pressures on low income families, and an extension to the Household Support Fund, but the other announcements made today will have little to no impact. 

"The Chancellor said this was the best way to help working people through the tax system, but that is just one of the mechanisms the UK Government has available to them.

"He should have uprated benefits by 7% in April to help the poorest families manage through the cost of living crisis. 

"He should have cancelled the freeze on Local Housing Allowance to reflect rising rent costs. 

"He's also left a glaring hole in terms of an opportunity to provide a longer-term fix to make sure the social security system is linked to the real costs people face. 

"There was so much the Chancellor could've done but didn't. 

"The announcements today ignored people in the toughest situations - people unable to work because of disability or ill-health, people with caring responsibilities and renters. 

"We have already seen calls to our debt helpline increase 47% this January compared to last and we fully expect without the right type of Government support that many more people on low incomes will fall into serious problem debt in the months and years to come."

International development charity, Christian Aid has also warned the Government's Spring Statement 'fails the world's poorest' and urged the Chancellor to restore the UK aid budget. 

Sophie Powell, UK Advocacy and Policy Lead at Christian Aid, said: "Failing to restore the aid budget is short sighted and does not reflect the public's own generosity towards those in need from Ukraine to Afghanistan and beyond. 

"We should not have to choose between responding to Ukraine and fulfilling our responsibilities to the poorest people facing hunger, climate and global health crises not of their making.  

"If the UK is serious about tackling global poverty, the Chancellor should have restored the UK aid budget. Instead, this budget fails the world's poorest." 

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