Commenting on today’s UK Budget, Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “People in the UK believe in justice and compassion. But today’s Budget will strike fear into the hearts of millions.
“The Chancellor’s decision to widen the callous and ineffective sanctions regime is completely wrong. Our unjust economy simply doesn’t offer people the kind of secure, suitable employment that they need, and too many people simply can’t increase their working hours because of poor transport links, health and disability issues, caring commitments, or lack of affordable childcare.
“Interviews at the Job Centre won’t solve the issues that prevent people from entering employment and increasing their working hours. We strongly oppose any extension of sanctions – they only create more poverty and do nothing to help people into employment.”
The Chancellor’s decision to widen the callous and ineffective sanctions regime is completely wrong.
“We were one of more than 100 charities and organisations who joined Martin Lewis to urge the UK Government to do the right thing by keeping the Energy Price Guarantee in place. We’re glad the Chancellor has listened.
“But we must remember that the Chancellor has ended the Energy Bills Support Scheme at a time when energy bills are still at record highs. The loss of £67 a month will have a big impact on low-income households, and the Government must make sure they get extra support – above and beyond the planned Cost of Living Payments – if it’s needed.
“It’s very welcome news that the standing charges for households on pre-payment meters are being brought into line with those on direct debits. The poverty premium on energy is completely unjust, and it’s right that it should come to an end.”
“Tackling women’s poverty and child poverty can’t happen without the provision of affordable wraparound childcare. But it’s unjust to restrict free childcare for one and two-year-olds to working households only. Upfront childcare costs are a key barrier to parents entering employment and this decision will continue to trap families in poverty.
“With equivalent funding expected for Scotland, the Scottish Government must expand the funded childcare entitlement to all one and two-year-olds equally.”