Catholic charity heads call for end to child poverty

Heads of Catholic charities in England and Wales have called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to extend welfare benefits, to avoid a sharp rise in child poverty in early 2021.

In a joint letter to Rishi Sunak, the 22 leaders in the Caritas Social Action Network in England and Wales argue that the £20 uplift he made in April 2020 to both Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit should be made permanent and extended to people entitled to legacy benefits.

Legacy benefits such as employment support allowance, income support and job seekers’ allowance were excluded from the £20 uplift.

Ben Gilchrist, chief executive of Caritas in Shrewsbury diocese, warned that “many urban areas in the North-West of England have very high levels of child poverty. Caritas Shrewsbury and sister Catholic agencies in the region have remained at the forefront of getting hardship funds and food to people in critical need, but it’s not nearly enough.”

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