The Joint Public Issues Team (of the Baptist Union, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church), in liaison with Church Action on Poverty, has launched a new campaign entitled ‘Reset the Debt.’
During the lockdown, millions of families in the UK were forced to borrow money to make ends meet, with the biggest increase in debt amongst the poorest households. A report commissioned by JPIT found that six million people fell behind on rent, council tax and other household bills due to Covid-19, and that almost one in five households borrowed money to buy food or other essentials in the month of July.
In response to the urgent need, JPIT and Christian Action on Poverty is calling on Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to create a ‘Jubilee Fund’ to provide grants to pay off and cancel unavoidable debts accrued by households during the lockdown. Based on the Old Testament principle and practice of jubilee, JPIT believes that the ‘Jubilee Fund’ would allow relationships to be reset, communities to be re-balanced, and people’s dignity to be restored.
Revd Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference, says, ‘The fact that Covid debt has disproportionately affected low-income families demands a compassionate and just response. For the benefit of families and wider communities, the aim of this campaign is to bring stability and a more hopeful future for millions of people currently struggling to cover the basics of life. These people cannot be forgotten as we move into what will be a challenging winter ahead.’
JPIT is calling on Christians around the UK to write to their MP, calling on them to ask the Chancellor how the Government is planning to address this debt crisis. On its website, the Joint Public Issues Team has created a simple mechanism to send a message directly to people’s MP. The webpage can be accessed HERE.
Read the ‘Reset the Debt’ report, which explores the UK’s covid-debt crisis and suggests that the Biblical principle of jubilee offers a solution, via THIS LINK. Visit JPIT’s website HERE and Church Action on Poverty’s website HERE. To share your story of how Covid-19 debt is affecting your community, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.