LETTER: Losers in the Budget are those on low incomes

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The Independent Online
From The Ven Clive Young and others

Sir: Your headline (29 November) "The poor come away nearly empty-handed" shows that the losers in this Budget are again people on low incomes: the young unemployed, the homeless and lone parents.

With nothing from tax cuts, they face a freeze on some benefits which, together with the cuts in social housing finance, suggests we should anticipate further increases in the numbers of homeless people. The 30 per cent of our population who find themselves to be the economically marginalised (Rowntree Foundation Report into Income and Wealth, February 1995) appear to have been written off by politicians of all the main parties on the basis of no money, no vote - or, at least, not a vote they are interested in canvassing. It is surely a short step from that to forgetting that these same people are a part of our community.

The recent Church of England report Staying in the City claims that growing disparities of wealth and poverty will damage the economic and social fabric of our nation. We write as Christians, but surely we are not the only people who believe we are to be our brother's and sister's keeper? Or are we to accept this grave and fundamental injustice as the norm?

Yours faithfully,

Clive Young

(Archdeacon of Hackney)

Wilfred Croydon

Roger Barking

Peter Woolwich

Douglas Bartles-Smith

(Archdeacon of Southwark)

Peter Broadbent

(Archdeacon of Northolt)

London, EC4

30 November