Inequality, hunger and deprivation are rising in the UK. More people are turning to foodbanks to feed their families. Between April 2018 and March 2019, the Trussell Trust distributed a record 1.6 million three-day emergency food parcels to individuals in crisis, 73% more than five years ago!
The introduction of Universal Credit has had a significant impact on the level of people locked in poverty. Our benefit system should provide a safety net for the times we need it most, protection to prevent families from being swept into poverty. But Universal Credit, with its five week wait and single monthly payment, does not reflect the lives of those receiving it. Many are left without money to pay their rent, bills and everyday essentials. Universal Credit’s very design increases poverty rather than reduces it.
As Christians, we believe all people are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and that God has a clear plan and purpose for every one of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). There is therefore a calling on Christians to ensure everyone has the ability to realise the potential God has placed within them and that economic and social disadvantage does not stand in the way of this.
Jesus ensured the poorest and most marginalised were central to the gospel. Throughout his ministry he always ensured that those who were physically diminished by poverty, hunger and illness could access him, in a way that was contrary to the actions of the religious leaders of the time. Jesus saw them and their intrinsic value, often using them to carry the good news
As Christians, our faith calls us to work towards a society where the experiences of the poorest and most marginalised are heard. Our work this year will strive towards this through continuing to research Universal Credit alongside wider welfare issues. In doing so, we hope to help people understand how policies are creating poverty, as well as ensuring the voices of those who experience it remain central to our call for change.
Find out more about our work on poverty and inequality here: