Government plans “fundamentally inadequate” in nation with almost 4 million experiencing destitution
Responding to the government’s plans for the forthcoming parliament, as set out in today’s King’s Speech, Darren Baxter, Principal Policy Adviser for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said:
“3.8 million people experienced destitution in this country in 2022, around a million of them children. These figures have risen sharply since 2017. Two weeks ago we asked both political parties for their plan to address this moral mission, but today’s speech was fundamentally inadequate in meeting the scale of the challenge.
“By pressing ahead with the long-delayed Renters Reform Bill the government is finally honouring its commitment to millions of tenants living in an insecure, high cost private rented sector, who will hope that this time the bill will finally become law. But its open ended delay to ending no fault evictions means renters will continue to face unfair, unexpected evictions.
“As we approach the autumn statement and the general election, the public want to see real action, not rhetoric, to tackle rising levels of severe hardship. We now need all parties to set out their plans for a future where everyone in our country can at least afford to keep warm, dry, clean and fed.
“As an immediate measure, the government must commit to uprating benefits in line with inflation in the usual way, and end the uncertainty facing millions of families. The parties seeking to form a government should also commit to introducing an ‘Essentials Guarantee’ into Universal Credit, to ensure that everyone has a protected minimum amount of support to afford essentials like food and household bills”.