Vincentian response to the Spring Budget
15th March 2023
United as a group of Vincentian charities, we are urging the government to put stronger social
security measures in place following the Chancellor’s Spring Budget statement today. The budget
provides some welcome relief to help people in need, and we welcome in particular the
government’s expansion of childcare support and the abolishment of the work capability assessment
for those on disability benefits. However, the government still needs to fix an inadequate welfare
system that is becoming increasingly unfit for purpose.
Vincentian charities work across the UK to support people who are experiencing destitution,
homelessness and isolation. We see first-hand the brutal impact that the cost-of-living crisis and
rising costs have on vulnerable people and a social security net that fails to meet their basic needs.
For instance, since the beginning of the year, the St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales) has
seen a worrying increase in requests for help. Data from the charity’s National Office shows that
requests for emergency support increased by 31% between February 2022 and February 2023.
Requests for help ranged from support with emergency food parcels, white goods, help with bills
and transport cost.
We know that high inflation rates, sharp increases in gas and electricity prices, stagnating wages and
low rates of social security hits lower-income households hardest. According to the Joseph Rowntree
Foundation, 90% of families on Universal Credit currently go without some essentials.
In this context, it is vital that the government strengthens the social security system so that it can
properly meet crises like the one we are facing. Keeping in mind a long-term view of the system, we
urge the government to:
Expand on the Energy Bills Support Scheme to further support lower-income households.
We welcome the extension of the energy price cap for a further three months, but we are
concerned that without additional long-term support, households will continue to struggle.
Invest in improvements to insulation and energy efficiency in social and private rented
Further increase levels of benefit support to better protect the vulnerable. While uprating in
April is welcome, it will only bring benefits in real terms back to where they were a year
Expand eligibility for Universal Credit and other benefits. The announcement of increased
sanctions for those on Universal Credit who do not or cannot accept work is particularly
concerning. While we welcome efforts to help people get back into work, stricter sanctions
could leave vulnerable people at risk of having their benefit entitlement withdrawn.
Anglican Sisters of Charity
Company of Mission Priests
Congregation of the Mission
Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul
Daughters of Charity Services
International Association of Charities (AIC)
Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Evron
Society of St. Vincent de Paul Scotland
St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales)