Al-Mizan Charitable Trust is a Muslim grant-funder which supports disadvantaged people and deprived communities across the UK, regardless of their faith or cultural background.

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UK General Election 2017 - Open Letter about Poverty in the UK

With the UK general election less than a month away, Al-Mizan Charitable Trust is keen to know more about the policies of some of the political parties in relation to poverty in the UK. We have sent an open letter to relevant spokespeople at the main political parties, asking them to summarise their party’s main policies to address the issues around poverty in the UK.

The letter has been sent to the following people (we have hyperlinked their responses): 

Conservative Party – Damian Green, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Green Party – Jonathan Bartley, Spokesperson for Work and Pensions

Labour Party – Debbie Abrahams, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Liberal Democrats – Cathy Bakewell, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Scottish National Party - Eilidh Whiteford, Spokesperson for Work and Pensions

UK Independence Party – David Sprason, Spokesperson for Welfare and Social Policy

You can read the letter in full below and we hope to share the responses with you over the next few weeks.

 

 

Dear [Politician],

I am writing to you from Al-Mizan Charitable Trust to ask what you are going to do about the UK’s punitive welfare system, precarious employment market, and rising levels of inequality.

Al-Mizan Charitable Trust (charity no. 1135752) supports people living in poverty across the UK, regardless of their faith or cultural background. We provide small grants, which help with the costs of education and training, employment and enterprise, household items, medical and mobility, and subsistence. We also distribute Ramadan Food Parcels, Back to School Backpacks, Winter Warmer Packs, and Mother & Baby Kits.

Despite living in the sixth richest country in the world, one in five people live below the official poverty line and these are families who cannot afford to eat, have nowhere to sleep, and are constantly having to make difficult financial decisions

We would like to know what you are going to do to address poverty in the UK, with a specific response to the following concerns:

Benefit Sanctions – These are cruel and ineffective ways of punishing the poorest people in the country. They can lead to debt and rent arrears, depression, hunger, food bank use, survival crime, destitution, and worse, and the DWP has no evidence that they have led to more people getting into work.

Food Banks – It is disgraceful that over a million food parcels have been given out to families living in poverty across the UK over the last year, because they cannot afford to buy food, mostly because of benefit sanctions or low wages.

Disabled People – A UN report found that austerity policies introduced into welfare and social care by the UK government amount to “systematic violations” of the rights of people with disabilities, and wider cuts have disproportionately and adversely affected disabled people.

Employment – Nearly one million people are on zero-hours contracts and a further seven million people are in precarious employment conditions, where they could lose their job suddenly. The “gig economy” has led to more people becoming self-employed and not receiving minimum wage or sick pay.

Myth of Scroungers – Politicians and the media constantly spew false rhetoric about how welfare recipients are scroungers, when there is no evidence to back this up and less than 1% of the welfare budget is lost to fraud.

We would be grateful if you could summarise your party’s main policies to show how your proposed government will do more to reduce poverty in the UK, so that we can share these with our donors and supporters, and they can keep this in mind when they vote at the upcoming elections.

If you would like to know more about the work of Al-Mizan Charitable Trust, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

Kind regards,

 

Ali Khimji

Operations Manager

Al-Mizan Charitable Trust

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