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Big Issue bosses lament missed opportunities in Chancellor's Spring Statement

More should have been done for people facing the cost of living crisis, said Big Issue founder Lord Bird.

Lord Bird Big Issue founder joined criticisms of the Chancellor's budget.

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.

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.  

“However, even with these measures being put in place, there is a clear need for holistic support for people facing barriers to work and therefore, we remain fully committed to providing a specialised recruitment service called Big Issue Recruit. The end-to-end service works with employer partners and candidates to provide those facing barriers to work with bespoke training, wraparound support and employment opportunities.”

“To sign-up to use the service as a candidate or to learn more about how your business can support people with barriers to employment into work, visit jobs.bigissue.com.”

Danyal Sattar, CEO of Big Issue Invest, said: “Community Investment Tax Relief is really important for Big Issue Invest. It directly lets us lower the cost of finance we lend, as it provides a 5 per cent tax relief on the amount invested for on-lending to small charities and social enterprises.

“The increase in the budget in eligible loan size and the maximum amounts that we can raise for on-lending under the scheme are great news for the social enterprise and charity sectors.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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