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Church of Scotland calls for anti-poverty autumn Budget

The Kirk has urged the Chancellor to halt universal credit and end the benefits freeze.

Kirk: Church of Scotland says thousands are suffering.
Kirk: Church of Scotland says thousands are suffering. PA

The Church of Scotland has called for anti-poverty measures to be at the centre of the next Budget.

The Kirk has urged the Chancellor to halt the roll-out of universal credit and end a freeze on benefits.

It also wants a commitment to renewables and policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions.

Reverend Richard Fraser, convener of the church's society council, has written to Philip Hammond ahead of the announcement of the autumn Budget on Wednesday.

"At present thousands of people across Scotland are suffering severe financial constraint due to the freeze of working age and children's benefits," he said.

"It has been estimated that the continued freeze will affect 700,000 families in Scotland, with an average loss of £450 annually and be the major catalyst for a rise in poverty over the next few years."

Richard Fraser: Convener of society council.
Richard Fraser: Convener of society council. Church of Scotland

He added: "Poverty, and the life altering consequences that it brings, has significant and long-term impacts on communities.

"In considering the budget, we would encourage you to ensure that the poorest communities do not suffer disproportionately and are not made to bear a greater burden than was originally intended."

Mr Fraser said the Kirk was concerned the UK Government had scaled back financial support for renewables.

"We would consider economic measures that contribute to the wellbeing of our planet to be an unquestionable priority," he said.

"It is imperative that the UK reduces its dependence on fossil fuels as the primary cause of human induced climate change, and moves the country to a low carbon, low emission economy with a financial commitment to stimulate energy efficiency.

"However, it is also crucial that measures are taken to alleviate fuel poverty while these changes are processed."

The Kirk previously said it believes climate change "represents a failure in our stewardship of God's creation".

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1386688-demand-on-scottish-foodbanks-surges-to-record-high/ | default

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