March
29
Author
Jubilee+ Team
We respond to latest in-work poverty figures

Yesterday the DWP released the latest data on households below average income. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation noted that they show "an increasing proportion of children in poverty who have a parent in work".

Our Head of Communications and Policy, Natalie Williams, responded on twitter, saying:

A foundational principle of Universal Credit is the belief that work is the best route out of poverty, yet 3 in 4 children trapped in poverty have a parent in work. How can this be right?

We need urgent action from politicians to fix Universal Credit, tackle low, stagnating wages and unstable work, and make sure the rising cost of living (including housing costs) isn’t plunging more and more people into poverty.

This is vitally important because every study shows that if a child grows up in poverty, it is the single biggest factor affecting their educational attainment, health, job prospects, and even their life expectancy.

We now have 4 million children facing the prospect of growing up with all of the odds stacked against them. "How a society treats its most vulnerable is always the measure of its humanity."

Many of us have been praying throughout this week for the 11-year-old girl whose letter to her MP, Stephen Timms, we featured on the blog on Monday. She provided a timely example of what life can look like for children in poverty, and her letter showed that her father was also in work.

Another story that hit the news this week was a report in The Guardian revealing that a housing development in south London had blocked access to the main play area from the children living in the social housing part of the development. Jubilee+ added our voice to those speaking out against this outrageous segregation and were happy to learn on Wednesday that the developers had backed down and are now saying all residents' children are allowed to play in that area. 

The story poignantly highlighted the differences of opportunity afforded to rich and poor children, from the most basic of levels upwards. But it also showed that good people can make a difference when they stand up against injustice.

We can pray: We serve a mighty God who is living and active, and is a God of justice and righteousness. We know that when his people humble themselves and call on him he loves to answer and to heal their lands (2 Chron 7:14). 

We can act: Write to your MP, contact your local media about issues of concern in your community, do what you can to fight poverty in your area of influence – you could boycott companies that refuse to pay a living wage, or ensure your company is paying fair wages to all its staff, give a leg up to someone who needs it, donate generously to the Foodbank collection box in your church or supermarket. We can't ask those in power to act if we, empowered by the Spirit, won't lead by example.