Faith and charity leaders call for more support as cost of living crisis bites

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With food and energy prices soaring and winter fast approaching, dozens of faith and charity leaders are calling on the Prime Minister to increase support for the poorest households.

In an open letter, they say that winter will be "a matter of life and death" for some and that the Prime Minister has a "moral responsibility" to support low income households in the coming months.

The letter warns that the least well-off are "facing the sharpest end" of the crisis and risk being "dragged into destitution" unless "substantial support" is put into place now. 

While the energy price guarantee announced earlier this month is welcomed, the letter warns that it "hasn't gone for enough" and falls well below what the average family of four on Universal Credit will need to stay fed warm and fed through the winter months. 

"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 letter says.

"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 letter has been signed by over 50 faith, charity and organisational leaders.

They include Emma Revie, CEO of Christian foodbank charity, The Trussell Trust, Rev Lynn Green, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, and Niall Cooper, Director of Church Action on Poverty.

"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," they continue.

"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."