There is simply no question that the whole of Britain faces an immense hit to living standards as a consequence of covid, brexit, fuel prices and now the war.
We will all see our living standards fall and for those working we will make such economies as we can and we will survive. But for those who are the poorest – around 20% of the population – they have no such ability to cope with these extra costs.
Our recent report showed the reality of poverty in our town. It captured the experience of those living with poverty.
However, desperate though this picture was, it will only get much worse. There are real and legitimate fears for the physical and mental wellbeing of the people we serve, and who knows, possible issues of social fragmentation.
The Government, in the eyes of pretty much every UK charity concerned with these issues, has totally refused to help the poorest in their recent Spring Statement. Indeed they took money away from them by only riasing benefits by 3.1% against an inflation rate of 10%.
Hope tries every day to meet the needs of the poorest in our society. But we cannot in any way mitigate fully against the scale of poverty that is coming. It is simply too great. It is also too great because, for the same reasons, we are at risk of seeing a fall in income this year as ordinary people, our largest single source of income, tighten their belts, and because no new government grant funding is available.
We will of course, work tirelessly to serve the poorest and also tirelessly seek the funds needed to sustain our services. But we need your help, as supporters and donors, to keep donations flowing. Without this the impact on the poorest will be ever greater. We will ask you to support our work with passion and care, and to maintain your support. We know you will stand with us.
But we will also campaign, as a single organisation and with others, for fairness and justice. Campaigning is needed more than ever, and we ask you to understand why there is a need to do so. Only by speaking with and for the poor will they see justice.