Church Homeless Trust is an apolitical organisation. Our staff, trustees, supporters, and beneficiaries have a wide range of views on how the country should be run. We are speaking up on this occasion because we believe that the mini-budget last Friday departed from the fundamental principles on which our democracy is based.
The purpose of our government is to serve the people. In our parliamentary system, MPs represent the interests of all the people in their constituency, whether they voted for them or not. Diligent MPs will have a good understanding of the issues facing their constituents. All parts of local and central government have a particular responsibility to protect the young, the old and those who are disadvantaged or marginalised.
On Friday in the mini budget the Chancellor made it clear that they would focus solely on incentivising the rich, and global corporations to make more money, in the hope that some of it would eventually trickle down.
There is no evidence that wealth does trickle down. On the contrary, wealth is becoming more concentrated in the hands of fewer people.
In cutting taxes for the rich and large corporations the Chancellor has assumed that greed and self-interest are the only drivers for growth, and that money is the only measure of value. This sort of growth will not be productive or sustainable, instead it will be short-term money-making on the back of house-price inflation and betting on the financial markets.
Many of us will often disagree with government policies and their budgets. But this so-called mini budget seemed to cross a line. There was adamantly no attempt at redistribution, no more levelling up, no more ‘we’re all in this together’. And this when ordinary people and small businesses are struggling more than ever.
The government has frozen fuel bills, but they are still twice the price that they were last year. Rent, the cost of food and everything else is going up. Millions of people and small businesses went into debt during the pandemic, and now their costs are increasing they are at breaking point.
The number of people needing help from charities is increasing, and the amount of help they need is increasing. Furthermore, the donors, congregations, staff, and volunteers who run these charities are also struggling. Many charities and community initiatives are no longer able to operate. The safety-net provided by faith communities and charities will not be able to help all the people that need our help.
As Bishop Desmond Tutu said:
There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.
Therefore we have decided to speak out. For years we have been warning that the safety net provided by the state and the third sector is at breaking point. We fear that this is the point at which it breaks. Something upstream needs to change. And it is only our government that can do this on our behalf.
We are asking all our supporters and beneficiaries to write to their MP to ask them to oppose the mini budget and develop new policies on behalf of all the people of the UK. You can do this on the link below:
For ideas of what to say to your MP about the mini-budget, please click here.