Rishi Sunak's support package welcomed but more needed, says Christian charity

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A Christian charity has welcomed the financial support promised to households struggling in the cost-of-living crisis, but says that more help is needed for the UK's poorest.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £15bn package on Thursday that includes a £400 discount on energy bills for all households this October that will not have to be paid back.

The package is being funded in part by a 25% windfall tax on oil and gas company profits.

Eight million lowest income households will receive £650, while eight million pensioners will receive £300.

Responding to the package, Gareth McNab, Director of External Affairs at Christians Against Poverty (CAP), said that the money would provide "significant" financial help to struggling households.

"We strongly welcome that three quarters of the total spend is targeted at vulnerable households, that people in receipt of legacy benefits will also benefit, and the commitment to a full up-rating in April 2023, including the triple lock for pensions," he said.

However, he warned that more longer-term support is needed. 

"These emergency measures will help to meet people's needs right now and buy some time, but they do not address the underlying reasons why people's incomes are inadequate, including benefit debt deductions, the benefit cap, the two child limit, and frozen Local Housing Allowance," he said.

"While technically worth more than benefits uprating, a one-off £650 is less than the amount lost by households when the Universal Credit uplift ended, and will not be received by low paid individuals not eligible for means-tested benefits.

"The total package of £1,200 is equivalent to £100 per month. Some of the households we are seeing have much higher deficits, sometimes of several hundred pounds every single month.

"The simple truth is that while more generous, even these payments will fail to keep many out of destitution."