William Eichler 02 November 2020

Faith leaders call for ‘cross-party strategy’ for tackling child poverty

Faith leaders call for ‘cross-party strategy’ for tackling child poverty image

Faith leaders praise footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to extend free school meals and urge the Prime Minister to establish a cross-party commission with the mandate and resources to tackle child poverty in England.

Leaders from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh communities have written to the PM registering their concern over the growing levels of poverty and hunger affecting children across the country.

The letter, which was signed by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, calls for temporary measures to ensure that children from low income families do not go hungry during the pandemic, especially over the school holidays.

It also insisted that the temporary increase in Universal Credit should be made permanent and extended to cover those on legacy benefits, and it called on the Government to increase working age benefits at least in line with inflation.

As well as these short- and medium-term measures, the faith leaders also called for a ‘coherent’ strategy aimed at tackling the underlying causes of child poverty.

‘In the long-term, we need a coherent, cross-government and cross-party strategy to tackle the underlying causes of child poverty, including low pay, educational disadvantage, and the shortage of affordable housing and childcare, as well as measures to promote social mobility and racial justice,’ the letter read.

‘Simultaneously, we need a comprehensive social security system that protects people against the vagaries of life, alongside a dynamic voluntary sector to help those who fall through the cracks.’

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