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Christian charity 'disappointed' by Chancellor's Spring Statement
The Trussell Trust has criticised the Chancellor's Spring Statement for not ending austerity as promised.
While Philip Hammond used his statement on Wednesday to commit £100m to fund police over-time to help tackle knife crime in England, the Christian charity said more needed to be done to help the most vulnerable in society.
"We're disappointed by today's Spring Statement, which does not end austerity as promised. The Chancellor has missed a real opportunity to do the right thing and give people on the lowest incomes financial support and certainty before Brexit.
"Our benefits system was created to make sure proper support would be in place for each other when help was most needed. But right now, more and more people across Britain are struggling to make ends meet, unable to afford food and facing hunger as a result. This isn't right.
"We have seen a record demand in food bank use - our network gave out 1.3 million three-day parcels in the last year, a 13 per cent increase in need. The key driver for this rise was incomes not covering the cost of essentials - and the majority of these incomes came through benefits."
His comments were echoed by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell who listed to MPs what he sees as the government's failures.
"Schools close early and their children are sent home, the Labour MP said.
"5,000 of our fellow citizens will be sleeping in the cold and wet on the street tonight.
"Young people are being stabbed to death in rising numbers."
Mr Hammond insisted that the government will make the most of opportunities after Brexit, including investing in infrastructure, technology and housing.
He also announced there will be free sanitary products available in England's secondary schools and colleges from September.
The Budget watchdog has lowered its growth forecast for the UK economy for this year - from 1.6 per cent to 1.2.
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