Ahead of the Government’s 2023 Autumn Statement, the Department for Social Justice, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has released a cost-of-living statement.
In this statement, we recognise that the cost-of-living crisis is multi-faceted and requires actions at a range of levels, including Government, civil society and the Church. However, with the Government’s Autumn Statement imminent, we are making the following specific requests of the Government:
- The taxation system should treat justly those with family, child-rearing and other caring responsibilities.
- The Government should examine with urgency and seriousness how policies relating to the provision of housing can reduce costs for families and ensure that families can have a stable and decent home. Housing costs today are at their highest levels relative to incomes since the 1870s.
- The Government should not neglect the need for a just transition to greener energy but should also consider carefully how different sections of society bear the costs.
- The world’s poorest people should not be further victims of the cost-of-living crisis in our own country. The Government should return to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on foreign aid.
- Welfare benefits should be fully uprated to reflect increases in the cost of living, with priority being given to families with children.
The two-child cap on universal credit payments should be removed or, at the very least, suspended pending a review of its impact.