Charities respond to Liz Truss election

05 Sep 2022 News

Liz Truss, incoming prime minister

Chris Mcandrew / Creative Commons

Charities have urged the incoming prime minister, Liz Truss, to work with the sector to support communities during the cost-of-living crisis.

Sector leaders also called for the previous administration’s levelling up programme to be continued and for action to tackle climate change.

Former foreign secretary Truss beat Rishi Sunak to become leader of the Conservative Party with 57% of the votes from party members and will become prime minister tomorrow. 

In her victory speech, Truss pledged to “cut taxes and grow our economy”. During her leadership campaign, she promised £30bn in tax cuts, a decrease inflation and a reversal of the recent hike in national insurance.

NCVO: ‘Government must support communities during current crisis’

Sarah Vibert, chief executive of NCVO, said: “The new government must be bold to support communities through this crisis. Immediate financial support for those in greatest need must urgently be delivered directly to households through the benefits system. 

“Voluntary organisations across the country are delivering vital support to communities impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. However, many are struggling to meet sharp increases in demand while operating costs rise and their income declines.

“Like business, voluntary organisations are being hit by spiralling energy bills. The new government must ensure that charities and other voluntary organisations are included in any plans to provide support to businesses.

“This crisis will be tough for everyone, and we need to work together to find solutions. We are calling on the new government to work with the voluntary sector to support communities through this crisis.”

NPC: ‘Levelling up must not be forgotten’

Leah Davis, head of policy and external affairs at NPC, said: “Our new prime minister has a full in-tray with the cost-of-living crisis right at the top.

“Charities are vital partners in tackling this crisis, having a unique perspective from which they can offer insights in how to combat fast-moving issues as they occur, so the new government should make the most of this in how they approach the challenges ahead.

“It is also essential that levelling up is not forgotten. People want to see levelling up tackle social issues, and charities are a ready resource embedded in communities to do so.”

CFG: ‘Government must take immediate action’

Dr Clare Mills, director of policy and communications at the Charity Finance Group (CFG), said: “The top priority is to address the causes and impact of the rising cost-of-living which threatens the way of life and livelihoods of millions of people. 

“We urge the new government to take immediate and effective action and use the ‘depth and breadth of talent’ that Ms Truss refers to, to bring fresh ideas to the most pressing issues of our time. 

“As well as the serious impact of the changes in the cost-of-living, and the levelling up needed to address inequalities between and within our communities, we cannot ignore the climate emergency which is affecting the UK and many other parts of the world.

“The government must have a focused and creative approach to solving these most pressing issues, whilst providing urgent support to those who need it now. We invite Ms Truss to work closely with our sector, to help ensure her bold plan will solve these problems.”

DSC: ‘Business support must also be available to charities’

Jay Kenney, director of policy and research at the Directory of Social Change (DSC) said: “For months, charities serving every kind of beneficiary and constituency have been warning of the dire consequences of inflation and skyrocketing energy costs for millions of people across the country. Finally, the Conservative leadership contest is over and the new prime minister needs to listen to these voices urgently.
“As she puts together her plans to deal with the crisis, Liz Truss and her incoming cabinet need to take account of charities’ deep expertise on questions of poverty and social welfare, and make sure they have genuine input into the policy solutions.

“And in order for charities themselves to keep serving people, they need to know that any support available to business will also be available to them at the outset, which often wasn’t the case during the pandemic.”

Bond: ‘Increase development funding’

Stephanie Draper, chief executive at Bond, said: “Strong leadership is needed in this role to address the multitude of intersecting crises at home and abroad – like the rising cost of food and fuel pushing millions of people around the world, including East Africa, deeper into poverty and famine. 

“Bold leadership includes having the resources available to both address and prevent the rising number of crises – in Ukraine, Pakistan and East Africa – due to conflict, poverty and climate change.  

“Urgent action is needed to lift the cap on the UK aid budget and create a clear plan to get us back to the legally enshrined 0.7% of GNI. The new prime minister has the opportunity to salvage our reputation as a trusted global partner who delivers on our promises to the world’s most marginalised people.”

Christian Aid: ‘Truss must tackle climate crisis’

Chief executive of Christian Aid, Patrick Watt, said: “The burning question is whether Liz Truss will now seize the opportunity to reset the government’s approach and rise to the unprecedented domestic and global challenges we face. She must. 

“The new prime minister must tackle the climate crisis, a major factor in Pakistan’s floods, by supporting a just transition to net zero and urgently help the millions of people on the brink of famine in East Africa with a swift reversal of cuts to international aid.”

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