The Methodist Church in Britain, the United Reformed Church and the Baptist Union of Great Britain respond to the proposal to limit the uprating of benefits, risking a real terms cut to benefit levels:
The social security system should prevent families from being pushed into hardship, yet foodbanks are facing rapidly rising demand and almost half of claimants receiving Universal Credit report skipping meals to make ends meet. The value of benefits has declined for the last decade and already an average family of four relying on Universal Credit will be £1,400 worse off this winter than last – despite the interventions already put in place. Against this background it would be outrageous to erode benefits further.
For months we have called on government to provide targeted support to the lowest income households, who are at the sharp end of rising costs. Without that additional help huge numbers of families – particularly families with children – will face impossible choices to make ends meet. The proposal to link benefits to wages rather than prices would mean the largest real terms cut in benefits ever at a time when low-income families are already facing increased hardship. Such a decision would lack both compassion and morality.
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus declared “I have come to bring good news to the poor”. We cannot stay quiet when vital support to the communities we are part of is threatened. We call on the Government to reaffirm its commitment to uprate benefits in line with prices and to provide targeted support to those families who are at the sharpest end of the cost of living crisis.
Revd Fiona Bennett, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church
Revd Graham Thompson, President of the Methodist Conference, The Methodist Church in Britain
Revd Lynn Green, General Secretary, Baptist Union of Great Britain