The Big Issue Group (BIG) has launched a campaign which is calling on the Government to break the cycle of poverty and create long-term solutions for future generations.
BIG supports the crucial emergency measures being called for to ease the current cost-of-living crisis. However, the Big Futures campaign seeks to get decision-makers to go further and put in place a plan and policies to break this cycle of crises and poverty for good. The campaign is calling on the Government to deal with the root causes, to ensure that future generations don’t have to tackle the same issues we are facing today, or worse.
After a tumultuous past few years, which has seen a number of crises and with 14.5 million people (more than one out of five people) in the UK living in poverty and with this number predicted to rise by 1.3 million by 2023, the campaign aims to prompt urgent action.
Long term solutions are needed to meet the biggest issues faced in the UK today – the housing crisis, low wages and the climate crisis. Dealing with these issues will help the UK to protect the environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of future generations.
The campaign asks are supported by several high profile individuals and organisations, who have also signed an open letter from the Big Futures campaign which has been sent to the new Prime Minister, demanding the Government take immediate action.
The campaign asserts that, in order to create decent and affordable homes for all, the Government must commit to building tens of thousands more affordable homes each year, reform planning legislation so that unused buildings must be used for residential purposes, and improving the rights of renters, by capping rents, ending unfair evictions and clearing rent arrears.
It must also implement a Housing First Approach for people who are homeless and living with multiple needs, so that everyone can access a stable home regardless of their circumstances.
The campaign also calls on the Government to end the low wage economy and invest in young people. It specifically asks the Government to commit to a plan to achieve £15 per-hour minimum wage for all workers over the age of 18. It also asks that they implement a Future Skills Scheme, upskilling and reskilling young people and members of the UK’s workforce who are in jobs that are vulnerable to disruption by crises or in currently left-behind communities.
And finally, Big Futures is asking the Government to commit to creating millions of well-paid, green jobs, by investing public money into green infrastructure and the care economy.
Lord Bird, Founder of Big Issue Group and cross-bench peer, said:
“Young people and future generations deserve a fair shot at life. Together, we can build a better future. If you didn’t sign up to an uncertain future for all, sign up to our campaign and open letter today.”
Kwajo Tweneboa, housing campaigner, said:
“It’s clear now more than ever why affordable housing is needed. With the rate of homelessness and hidden homelessness rising as well as the cost of rentals. Things are becoming more and more expensive. There are over 1 million people on the waiting list for a social home and it’s growing at a faster rate than the Government are building. Everyone deserves access to a safe home in this country. When housing collapses it’s social housing we will depend on. Lets not wait for that disaster to happen and start treating affordable and social homes with the priority it deserves and has needed for decades.”
Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union, said:
“Poverty is a political choice. The Prime Minister has an opportunity to act to reverse the damage done over the last decade and put in place long-term solutions to alleviate the burden on families. There are already almost four million children living in poverty and as the cost of living crisis deepens this figure will only get worse. Families are struggling to make ends meet and school staff are supporting more and more pupils who are coming to school hungry, cold or tired. Action must be taken to safeguard the future for the next generation.”
Big Futures adheres to the same long-termism, prevention focused policies of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill, which has long been championed by BIG, and is currently being put through Parliament by BIG Founder and cross-bench peer, Lord Bird and Conservative MP for Barrow and Furness, Simon Fell.
Join the Big Futures campaign today, go to bigissue.com/campaigns/big-futures and sign the open letter to demand a better future.