Rabbis urge Amber Rudd to do more to tackle child poverty

Twenty-five rabbis call on Work and Pensions Secretary to reverse changes to children’s benefits


A group of 25 rabbis have written to Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd to ask the government to do more to tackle child poverty.

It follows a recent report from the parliamentary environmental committee stating that levels of food insecurity in the UK were “among the worst in Europe”.

The rabbis called on Ms Rudd in particular to reverse changes to children’s benefits, which they said could result in 300,000 to 400,000 fewer children living in poverty.

The predominantly Reform and Liberal group, which included one Orthodox and one Masorti rabbi, wrote: “We have known for too long that children are now going to school hungry and without adequate clothing.”

They cited a projection from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that by 2020/21  three million children would be at risk of going hungry during the school holidays and 5.2 million children would be living in poverty. 

One of the signatories, Rabbi Alexandra Wright, senior rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood, said, “The great tragedy of Brexit in the UK is that it has knocked off the table the issue of poverty.”

Ms Rudd recently announced some changes to welfare plans, including a decision not to extend the cap on benefits for families with more than two children retrospectively.

But the cap - which within the Jewish community in particular hits large Charedi families - will continue to affect families who had a third child after the introduction of the measure in April 2017.

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