Is Cost of Living Support Enough?

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On 21 September 2022, over 50 faith, charity and organisational leaders signed an open letter to the Prime Minister, calling for direct support for the poorest households in response to rising living costs:

As faith groups, charities, trade unions and front-line organisations we have seen the cost of living emergency escalating not only in the statistics but in the lives of people we meet day to day, in foodbanks, debt centres and in our places of worship. The least well off in our communities are facing the sharpest end of this crisis, and without substantial support will be dragged into destitution.

It is the urgent, moral responsibility of the Prime Minister to ensure that people on the lowest incomes have enough to live in the months ahead. Spiralling costs are affecting everyone, but for those who were already fighting to keep their heads above water this winter’s challenges will be a matter of life and death.

The Energy Price Guarantee announced on 8th September, whilst welcome, hasn’t gone far enough. Analysis published today by Prof Donald Hirsch indicates that the average family of four receiving Universal Credit will still need an additional £1,391 over the next six months to stay warm and fed. Low income households need targeted financial support which takes into account family size and need, is distributed quickly and in amounts large enough to enable families to live decently this winter and beyond.

Increases in poverty and destitution because of this crisis are not inevitable, if government, business and civil society recognise that this is an emergency and act now. We believe that concerted action can turn the tide on poverty, see us through this winter and put us on the path to a poverty free Britain. The government has the tools to deliver this at their disposal, and they must use them now.

Signed by:

Rabbi Robyn Ashworth-Steed, Chair, Tzelem: The Rabbinic and Cantorial Call for Social and Economic Justice in the UK

Rabbi Charley Baginsky, Chief Executive Officer, Liberal Judaism

Revd Fiona Bennett, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church

Rabbi Rebecca Birk, Co-Chair, Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors

Anna Bland, Team Leader, Leeds Sanctuary

Anthony Boateng, Vice-President of the Conference, The Methodist Church in Britain

Dr Nicola Brady, General Secretary, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

Rabbi Janet Burden, Rabbi Emerita, Ealing Liberal Synagogue

Heidi Chow, Executive Director, Debt Justice

Niall Cooper, Director, Church Action on Poverty

Kevin Courtney and Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretaries, National Education Union

Sister Colette Cronin, Leader, Institute of Our Lady of Mercy

Colin Date, Acting Chair, Christian Concern for One World

Sister Lynda Dearlove rsm, CEO, women@thewell

Claire Donovan, Head of Research, Policy & Campaigns, End Furniture Poverty

Bishop Terry Drainey, Chair and Bishop, Catholic Social Action Network & R.C. Diocese of Middlesbrough

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group

Ben Gilchrist, Chief Executive, Caritas Shrewsbury

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Senior Rabbi, The Ark Synagogue

Rev James Green, Executive Director, Together Liverpool

Revd. Lynn Green, General Secretary, Baptist Union of Great Britain

Mia Hasenson-Gross, Director, René Cassin

Revd Ruth Harvey, Leader, The Iona Community

Joseph Howes, CEO, Buttle UK

Imran Hussain, Director of Policy & Campaigns, Action for Children

Rabbi Richard Jacobi, Minister to the congregation, East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue

Rabbi Neil Janes, Rabbi, South Bucks Jewish Community (constituent of Liberal Judaism)

The Most Reverend Andrew John, Archbishop of Wales, The Church in Wales

Rabbi Gabriel Kanter-Webber, Minister, Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue

Mr. Rajnish Kashyap MCICM, General Secretary, Hindu Council UK

Peter Kelly, Director, Poverty Alliance

Paul Kissack, Chief Executive, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Rabbi Monique Mayer, Bristol and West Progressive Jewish Congregation

Gareth McNab, Head of External Affairs, Christians Against Poverty

Paul McNamee, Editor, The Big Issue

Rabbi Lea Mühlstein, Senior Rabbi, The Ark Synagogue

Zara Mohammed, Secretary-General, Muslim Council of Britain

Patrick O’Dowd, Director, Caritas Diocese of Salford

Helen O’Shea, National President of St Vincent de Paul Society

Emma Revie, CEO, The Trussell Trust

Father Dominic Robinson SJ, Chair, Archdiocese of Westminster Justice and Peace

Revd Paul Rochester, General Secretary, Free Churches Group

Revd. Ian Rutherford, Chair, Greater Manchester Food Security Action Network and City Centre Minister, Methodist Central Hall Manchester.

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive, National Energy Action

Mr Paul Southgate, Chair of Trustees, The National Justice and Peace Network

Most Reverend Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Primus, Scottish Episcopal Church

Anna Taylor, Executive Director, The Food Foundation

The Revd. Graham Thompson, President of the Methodist Conference, The Methodist Church of Britain

The Reverend James Tout, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Wales, The Church in Wales

Fr Adrian Tuckwell, Caritas Hexham and Newcastle

Jo Wittams, Co-Executive Director, The Equality Trus

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