Universal Credit: Media update

Poverty concerns and budget proposals by Church Action on Poverty and other charities have been reported in the Sunday Times.
A letter signed by our director, Niall Cooper, and 11 other charity chief executives was published in the paper on Sunday, under the headline “Use budget to help poor”.
The published text is below:

The prime minister has spoken of the need to  create a system that enables people to share in Britain’s prosperity. The November budget  provides the opportunity  to make progress in this regard.

Three policies would help:  make work pay by restoring universal credit work allowances (the wage level of earnings above which universal credit starts to be withdrawn);  fix the universal credit six-week wait; and end the freeze on child benefit and other social security payments such as local housing allowance.

The squeeze on household budgets, including those of people in work, has become too tight. Living costs are projected to rise four times as quickly as wages by 2019, and working and non-working benefits are frozen. Many face being priced out of the economy.

Those who receive no income for six weeks or more, as is the experience for most universal credit recipients, suffer severe hardship and are often tipped into destitution and driven to emergency food providers.

As the Conservative Party gathers for its conference, MPs might reflect on  the  difficulties facing many of their own constituents. 


  • Niall Cooper, Church Action on Poverty
  • Rosie Ferguson, Gingerbread
  • Alison Garnham, CPAG
  • Katie Ghose, Women’s Aid
  • Arvinda Gohil, Community Links
  • Kamran Mallick, Disability Rights UK
  • Bharat Mehta, Trust for London
  • Polly Neate, Shelter
  • Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society
  • Mary-Ann Stephenson, Women’s Budget Group
  • Maurice Wren, Refugee Council
  • Wanda Wyporska, The Equality Trust
  • Isabella Goldie, Mental Health Foundation
  • Ellen Broomé, Family and Childcare Trust