The Bishop of Leicester has written to local MPs, asking to meet them to discuss efforts and concerns around the current cost of living crisis.
In his letter, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, has laid out the churches’ concerns, which include ‘that unfair sanctions and deductions from the Department for Work and Pensions are forcing people to rely on food banks.’
There are also concerns that farmers are being badly hit by rising costs, which impacts both their livelihoods and, with falling production levels, households across the UK.
Rising energy prices globally, could also drive up to 120 million more people worldwide into extreme poverty, he states in the letter, dated March 27.
“Recent data on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis showed that 42 per cent of East Midlands residents felt their mental health had worsened, and nearly 2 in 5 couldn’t afford to turn the heating on during cold spells,” the letter goes on to state.
“At the same time, oil companies recently reported that their profits have doubled over the last year. At $32 billion, Shell’s profits last year were three times greater than the total GDP of counties like Mauritius, Malawi and Rwanda. As people who follow Jesus, who stood up for the downtrodden and the marginalised, we feel it is our duty to do the same.”
Bishop Martyn as a member of the House of Lords, tabled questions about the Government’s response to the cost-of-living crisis. The responses show that nearly 3 out of ten people in Leicester eligible for the Energy Support Scheme have not redeemed their vouchers.
“We were also disappointed to learn that the Government is planning no evaluation of the impact of various households support schemes delivered by local authorities across the UK,” he said. “This means we cannot know how effective they have been at protecting people from falling into deep poverty, or suffering related harms to their health and wellbeing.”
Bishop Snow welcomes the chance to discuss with local MPs and council leaders how they will be driving further take-up of the Energy Support Scheme vouchers.
Along with other denominational leaders he is asking:
- For Leicester City Council to do more to reach the 10,000 households in the city who are eligible for the Energy Support Scheme but have yet to sign up for that help
- For the County Council to do more to reach the 7,000 households in Leicestershire who are eligible for, but have not redeemed, Energy Support Scheme vouchers
- For local MPs to lobby the Government for:
- more support to deal with rising input costs for farmers
- a review of Universal Credit so it ensures people can afford the essentials
“Again, please accept our deepest thanks for your efforts, and we hope you will join with us in praying for wisdom and compassion for our policymakers and leaders, for those affected by the cost of living crisis, and for continued cooperation between Christians so that we might be a beacon of hope in bleak circumstances,” he added.