Economists and commentators have questioned the effectiveness of the plans, however, warning that the energy bill freeze could cost more than £100bn and other measures will either take too long to bear fruit or are not guaranteed to support the poorest at all.
“Low income households need targeted financial support which takes into account family size and need,” continues the letter,” is distributed quickly and in amounts large enough to enable families to live decently this winter and beyond.”
The government announced one-off payments to support households through the cost of living crisis in the spring, before inflation topped 10 per cent for the first time in decades and the full extent of runaway energy costs was apparent.
Economic research accompanying the letter indicates households on universal credit will need an extra £1,391 over the next six months “to stay warm and fed”.
More than one in five people were living in poverty at the start of 2022, a number expected to be higher still as the nights turn cold.
“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 letter concludes. “The government has the tools to deliver this at their disposal, and they must use them now.”
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The full letter and list of signatories reads:
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.
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 Trust”