“Poverty is not being able to do things that are necessities. Things that are important like gas and electric, showers, bus fares, and having to worry that your daughter has a hole in her shoes. She needs new shoes and I don’t have the money. What do I do? Do I get gas or do I get shoes?”
– Poverty in Scotland 2015, a Scottish Government & Poverty Truth Commission publication.
In the UK, children raised in families without enough money face many disadvantages. They are more likely to die as infants, do worse at school, experience more disease and illness, and go on to die younger.
The Welfare Reform and Work Bill currently before Parliament will make poor people poorer. The majority of those affected will be children. A large group of Churches is asking the government to reconsider its proposals.
Many families will face a large reduction in benefits under the proposed Bill. The hardship caused by it is likely to be substantial. For many it will break the link between their needs and the levels of support available to them. Those with high levels of needs will be subjected to a maximum limit on the money they receive. Those caring for more than two children will in future receive no extra support from the tax credit system. The aim is to use financial pressure to encourage parents to take on more work, or have fewer children; but no child should be left without enough in order to motivate their parents.
The Bible is clear that, where there is plenty to go around, there should be no one left in need. As Christian communities, we are called not only to pray “your kingdom come”, but to do all in our power to make God’s kingdom a reality here and now. We are all made in God’s image, each precious in the eyes of God. We do not believe that we should ever deliberately deprive a person, a family, a child of enough to survive, to thrive or to fulfil their God-given potential.
Enough is a new campaign from the Methodist Church, United Reformed Church, The Baptist Union and the Church of Scotland. We will be following the campaign but you can find out more here including how you can help.