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Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Churches' response to Budget mixed
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¬†Church Action on Poverty, the ecumenical pressure group representing all the major churches in the UK, has welcomed the Chancellor's Budget statement as "good news for the poorest families, but only mixed news for the working poor." Niall Cooper, Church Action on Poverty National Coordinator commented: "Poorest families see highest benefits. "The Child Tax Credit is a welcome step in boosting the incomes of the poorest families, whether in work or not. It is particularly good news that the incomes of the poorest 10% will be increased by an average of £15 per week. To many families this will make a sizeable difference to their weekly budgets." Working poor The Chancellor is taking away with one hand what he gives with the other, the group said. "By announcing increases in National Insurance the Chancellor is taking away with one hand what he is giving with the other, through the new Working Tax Credit. Working families earning as little as £13,000 (two thirds of the national average) will see their incomes increase by a paltry £1.63 a week next year." Church Action on Poverty welcomed the introduction of the Working Tax Credit, but pointed out in its "Alternative Budget, published last week that one in three jobs on offer to the unemployed will not qualify for assistance as they are either too part time, temporary or casual to qualify." Pensioners miss out The group said the Chancellor had little good news for millions of pensioners in poverty. He yet again ignored the calls from many pensioner and anti-poverty groups to restore the link between the basic state pensions and earnings. The Basic State Pension is now worth less than 18% of full time male earnings, and is in danger of becoming worthless, unless the earnings link is restored.
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