Founder of The Big Issue Lord Bird has responded to the chancellor’s Spring Statement, lamenting the lack support for people struggling through the cost of living crisis, along with other leading figures at the social enterprise.
Lord Bird said: “The government should have used this spring budget to acknowledge the cost-of-living crisis. They could have established a Ministry of Emergency, which should focus on keeping people out of the treacle of poverty, creating millions of well-paid carbon zero jobs needed both now and into the future, from healthcare to teaching, and ultimately support people so that they can continue to live in their own homes.
“Specifically, the government urgently needs to fast track the Renters’ Reform Bill, unfreeze Local Housing Authority rates and increase universal credit payments to cover people’s basic outgoings. Without the implementation of these policies, we may well see upwards of 300,000 households fall into homelessness.”
Hunts’s Budget focussed on finding incentives for older people, people on disability benefits and parents of young children back into work, but has been criticised for failing to adequately address the lack of opportunities for young people and issues of in-work poverty.
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Paul Cheal, Group CEO of the Big Issue Group, said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement that there will be increased support, focusing on disabled people, those with long-term health conditions, over 50s, and low-earners and parents on Universal Credit.
“At Big Issue Group, we have a strong belief in the value of these individuals bring to the workplace. We are pleased to see this untapped pool of talent being given the focus and investment needed.