No jam or justice in the Autumn Statement

By agency reporter
November 25, 2016

Church Action on Poverty (CAP) has responded to the Autumn Statement, saying that "the incomes of the poorest are hardest hit whilst the wealthy escape scot free."

The ecumenical charity said the Chancellor's Statement announced further years of pain ahead, as the economy adjusts to the likely impact of Brexit. An economic policy grounded in social justice might have sought to place the greatest burden on those most able to bear it.  But, yet again, it is the poorest who are being called on to shoulder the greatest pain, says CAP.

As the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown, the cumulative impact of tax and benefit reforms are clear and unambiguous. The freeze on benefits will leave the poorest families around £350 per year worse off, but leave the incomes of middle earners and the wealthiest in society untouched. Those who are currently only ‘just about managing’ already have bare wallets, bare cupboards, and mounting bills to pay. The charity asks how can they be expected to take a further £7 out of their weekly budget.

Church Action on Poverty  Director Niall Cooper commented: "It cannot be right that it is these families who are being asked to make yet another sacrifice, when their wealthier neighbours are not being asked to do likewise. For many it will mean increased debt, worse diets, no chance of a holiday for the forseeable future. For some it will mean a trip to the food bank. When, as a nation, will we start to exercise some genuine Christian compassion?"

*The Institiute for Fiscal Studies' analysis of the impact of the Autumn Statement is available here

* Church Action on Poverty http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/

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