Over 1,100 faith leaders are calling on the Prime Minister to scrap plans to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week from next month.
In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, Bishops in partnership with Church Action on Poverty and Christians Against Poverty, urge the Government “to choose to build a just and compassionate social security system that our whole society can have confidence in.”
The Bishop of Doncaster, Rt Revd Sophie Jelley, commented:“I fully support the plea to retain Universal Credit at the current level at the present time. With the increase in food and energy prices together with the impact of the pandemic on household income I am extremely concerned about families and households already struggling to make ends meet.”
The letter reads: “If the Government persists with this cut, it would be the single biggest overnight reduction in the basic rate of social security since the welfare state was established in the 1940s. Millions of low income households will be swept further into poverty as a result. As Christians, we are compelled by the gospel imperative to prioritise the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable. As church leaders, we must speak up, because of the impact this will have on our poorest neighbours and church members.”
Christians Against Poverty’s UK Chief Executive, Paula Stringer, said: “This cut will lead to thousands more people falling into problem debt. If it goes ahead many will be forced to make impossible choices. They’ll be faced with the very real prospect of falling into arrears, and having to choose whether to eat or put the heating on to stay warm. No one should ever have to choose between food or heating, it’s simply not right, but that will be the heartbreaking reality if this cut goes ahead.”