Displaying items by tag: poverty
Three months ago, Christians Against Poverty (CAP), the debt relief charity, launched an online calculator service that over 21,000 have used to check if they are entitled to extra benefits. Over £6m in potential extra annual income has been found that was previously left unclaimed - meaning an extra 2,000 people are likely to see a boost to their household budgets. CAP’s Director of External Affairs said, ‘£15bn every year goes unclaimed in social security and benefits. That's money that you and I pay in our taxes to be there for us when life happens. But that’s currently sat on a desk in Whitehall when it should be in people's pockets.’
Healthwatch gathers and champions the views of users of health and social care services, in order to identify improvements and influence providers’ plans. New data shows an increase in the number of people who avoid getting prescription medicines, booking NHS appointments and vital dental treatment for financial reasons. A tracker poll conducted with 2,000 adults found people who avoided an NHS appointment due to the cost of travel doubled to almost one in 10. Over one in 10 avoided booking an NHS appointment because of associated costs, - accessing the Internet and expensive phone calls. 39% said changes made to keep up with rising cost of living included avoiding dentists, NHS prescriptions, or even buying medicines over the counter. They are not turning on the heating and are cutting back on food. Consequently, 35% said their physical and mental health had gotten worse in the past two months.
The cost-of-living crisis triggered by the Ukraine war, the energy crunch, surging inflation and the coronavirus pandemic has become the greatest worry for EU citizens, according to a new Eurobarometer showing 45% of respondents are currently having some or a lot of difficulties with their personal income. The poll speaks of a ‘polycrisis mood’ across the continent. Additionally, 46% of Europeans admit their standards of living have already decreased as a result of the mounting crises, while 39% expect to see a decline sometime this year. More worryingly, 30% of respondents struggle to pay their monthly bills ‘from time to time’ and 9% say this is the case ‘most of the time.’
Immigration is a reality of national life. London has 10,000+ people of over fifty various nationalities. Many Brits struggle to welcome immigrants, who often struggle to adjust to life in the UK. Pray for society to face the challenges of many cultures living together in peace. Immigrants from Christian nations like Nigeria and Brazil bring new church life and church growth. Pray for local congregations to plant new churches, reach new peoples, and glorify Jesus as they partner with believers from many lands. Sadly, England's inner cities are becoming physical and spiritual wastelands of drugs and crime. Dying churches and empty churches have been converted to mosques, temples, or gurdwaras as white evangelicals move to the suburbs. Inner-city whites in poverty and joblessness have few prospects. Pray for God to raise an army of workers to meet the many needs of impoverished and often troubled areas.
The Trussell Trust needs people to raid cupboards for unwanted food to donate in the weeks before Christmas. Parcel costs have rocketed. Some food banks have seen the cost of a food parcel rise from £39 to £58. Many face a difficult winter with rising costs of heating and food. Food banks - many operating through churches - are expecting more demand than ever before, with volunteers giving out 1.3 million emergency food parcels over the next six months. The cost of providing vital food parcels to families in need has risen significantly as the cost-of-living crisis worsens. National Statistics data shows that the price of vital items usually included in the parcels has risen by 17% in a year. Lack of understanding contributes to food going to waste, or donations not being given. Trussell Trust have joined with Deliveroo takeaway service to ensure more donations get to the centres this Christmas.
Teaching organisations have asked the prime minister for free school meals to be given to children in households on universal credit. Jamie Oliver said the rule change would help 800,000 of the ‘most vulnerable’ children. However the call comes as government departments prepare for spending cuts, saying they had already expanded access to free school meals more than any other government in recent decades. A letter signed by leaders of 12 unions representing a million teaching staff, governors and school trustees across the UK warns the prime minister, the chancellor and the education secretary that ‘hunger is a real issue in our schools, too many families are struggling to afford school meals. Families receiving universal credit, or any equivalent benefit should be eligible as an immediate first step. Not doing so would undermine all the education workforce efforts to tackle inequalities’.
A refugee agency in Lebanon noted discrimination and violence against Syrian refugees rose sharply recently, with more confrontations at bakeries where refugees often have to wait for bread behind Lebanese citizens. Rawan Haddad, of Tent Schools International, said that the refugees’ situation is sometimes better than most Lebanese. Nations provide basic support and limited facilities for refugees, but Lebanese below the poverty line have no support. There are shortages of bread, flour, and medicine. People don’t make enough to buy what they need, and the government won’t help. With these concerns in mind, Lebanese officials have now announced they plan to repatriate refugees back to Syria, but the problem is that European countries will not agree to that course of action.
Sri Lanka’s clergy are struggling to survive during the country’s state of emergency. Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is providing £390,000 in vital support for priests and churches struggling during the unprecedented economic crisis. It will provide priests with a basic income and subsistence aid for catechists, Sisters and other members of religious orders carrying out essential pastoral work. Bishop Valence Mendis said the local Church is struggling to cover its own costs and finding it difficult to relieve the suffering of everyone turning to them for help. He said, ‘People can afford virtually nothing.’ Bishop Mendia said, ‘The economic situation is very serious. Many are going without medicine and food. People have died in queues while waiting to buy basic goods. Many have lost their jobs, and prices have risen astronomically.’ Inflation soared above 54% last month, food prices are now 80% higher than this time last year.
One of the root causes of poverty in Asia is corruption that diverts resources from the poor to the rich in a culture of bribes. Corruption and bribery are two sides of the same coin. Another root cause of Asian poverty is recurring natural disasters - floods, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, landslides, etc. ‘Asian countries are mostly dependent upon agriculture, forestry and tourism. All can all be affected by natural disasters. Education is affected by poverty because poor people stop going to school to work; leaving them without literacy and numeracy skills needed for a career. Poor people tend to believe not only that they are poor, but that they will remain poor, leading to psychological poverty - an unhealthy frame of mind that is usually self-inflicted. Spiritual poverty occurs when people’s incompleteness and dependency overwhelms them. In their brokenness they feel that something is wrong within themselves. They need God. Ask God to brood over and touch the impoverished Asian.
Ghana has previously refused to seek help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support its crippled economy. However, they will now be making a U-turn and asking the IMF to rescue them from poverty inflicted by the pandemic and inflation. Sierra Leone has launched a redenominated currency to strengthen its value. However, critics and the opposi¬tion say the redenomination of the leone is confusing and adds no value. Uganda opposition figure Besigye was released on bail after being detained in the capital Kampala for two weeks for leading protests against sky-rocketing consumer prices. See The pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war could leave a lasting financial impression for a decade. 30 million Africans experienced extreme poverty in 2021 and 22 million jobs were lost in the same year due to the pandemic. The trend is expected to continue until 2023. The economic disruptions from the Ukraine war could push a further 1.8 million Africans into extreme poverty this year.