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Bishops join Trussel Trust in universal credit concerns

Sat 13 Oct 2018
By Cara Bentley

Bishops have signed a petition calling for Theresa May to change or stop the roll out universal credit. 

The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams and Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Revd Tony Porter, signed the petition by End Hunger UK which will be delivered to the Prime Minister on 7th November. 

The charity want improvements to the design of the new benefits system to ensure people aren't at risk of going hungry or getting into debt. They also want the government to promise to make it easier to apply for and assurance that it will progress into an adequate supply of income that allows families to buy good food regularly. 

Bishop Paul said: “I have signed the End Hunger UK petition, calling on the Government to continue a rigorous review assessing the impact ‘on the ground’ under Universal Credit.

"We need to ensure that we do not see an increase in those pushed into serious food poverty, especially in our cities at a time when local authority budgets are already stretched to the limits. I am thankful that many parishes and churchgoers across the diocese are engaged in practical action locally.”

Their support comes just a week after the Trussell Trust expressed concern at the roll out of the next phase. A report by the Trussell Trust on 5th October highlighted the major increase in the proportion of food bank referrals made for people moving onto Universal Credit over the last two years.

In the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham there are eight Trussell Trust food banks working out of 23 distribution centres, which last year gave out 23,322 three-day emergency food parcels to people in crisis. There are also at least seven independent food banks.

The petition will be delivered to the Prime Minister in the lead-up to the Budget later this month.

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