Call for urgent action on the cost of living crisis

9 August 2022 – 12 Av 5782
Cost of living crisis

Liberal Judaism has joined with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and 56 faith groups, charities and politicians to call on the government to take urgent action to bridge the cost of living gap faced by the lowest income families.

The call responds to a report, written by poverty expert and Loughborough University Professor Donald Hirsch which reveals the gap between the support the government is currently offering to households and the anticipated rise in living costs. The report concludes that the current flat-rate payments offered by the government will fall at least £1,600 short of making up for recent changes to living costs and benefits faced by a couple with two children.

The report assesses the extent to which cost of living measures announced in May will compensate for three blows experienced by millions of low income families: cuts in Universal Credit, inadequate uprating of benefits with accelerating inflation in April and the further rise in the energy cap anticipated in October. It shows that the package of support measures falls well short of making up for these losses, even with the October increase in the cap. The Government is being urged to consider appropriate measures to bridge this shortfall in family finances.

Liberal Judaism CEO Rabbi Charley Baginsky is one of the signatories to the report. Others endorsing the report include many charities and organisations providing front-line support for families hit by rising costs – such as the Trussell Trust, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Child Poverty Action Group, Methodist Church, Hindu Council UK and Muslim Council of Britain. It has also been endorsed by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and Mayors Tracy Brabin of West Yorkshire, Andy Burnham of Greater Manchester, Jamie Driscoll of North Tyne Combined Authority, Sadiq Khan of Greater London, Dan Norris of West of England, Steve Rotheram of Liverpool City Region and Marvin Rees of Bristol.

Professor Donald Hirsch said: “The shortfall families are facing between skyrocketing costs and the support government have offered continues to grow. Families were falling behind with the anticipated rise in costs even when the measures were announced, and since then the food and energy costs forecast for this winter have continued to rise sharply. The flat rate emergency payments announced so far leave families with children particularly far behind, because they are not sensitive to the extra costs that children bring. A new package needs to address the fact that by the autumn, living costs could have risen by as much as 14% for low income families, who have received only a 3% increase in benefits. An additional across-the-board uprating to Universal Credit and other benefits would address family need far more effectively than further flat rate payments.”

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown commissioned the report, after facing the realities of rising costs alongside churches and charities in the UK. He said: “This is a crisis that Britain hasn’t seen in decades. It goes far beyond politics; this is a moral issue – our responsibilities to our neighbours and in particular to those who have the least and whose needs are the greatest. The incoming Prime Minister has a moral responsibility to ensure that everyone has enough to live on, through this crisis and beyond. We cannot be at ease when millions are ill at ease and cannot rest content as long as there is so much discontent. Our society will be stronger when we help the weak and will be richer when we help the poor.”

Read the full report at

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