30 March 2023

Spring Budget: Thinking about the society God wants

Josh Adcock

Photo shows someone holding out a government red box.

Josh Adcock encourages us to think about the Spring Budget through a faith lens.

The Spring Budget is when the government reflects upon the UK’s current socio-economic environment ahead of the new financial year and makes usually minor changes with the aim of improving the year ahead. Containing fundamental changes to energy bills’ support, pensions, future childcare provision, disability benefits and sanctioning within the welfare system, the 2023 Spring Budget was anything but minor.

Events such as these saturate the media and our social media feeds and find ways into our conversations. It’s natural to question and compare them with your own values, current needs and goals. It’s equally natural to want to run in the other direction from such topics. After all, you might be wondering what a fiscal announcement has to do with your faith.

Proverbs 3:5 and 6 remind us that trust is where we must begin, and our understanding and voice will follow: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths’ (New King James Version).

The Salvation Army has a vision for a fairer, kinder, more compassionate society, one that cares for its people and environment, connected to God and delivering his mission. Faith with action is in our Movement’s history. Our challenge – our calling – is to be the example for the society we want and lead the way in helping us transition into the society that God wants.

Injustice can be found almost everywhere we look in society. Dangerous contradictions and worrying omissions within the Spring Budget could lead to more injustice.

In an official statement, The Salvation Army said it is pleased the Budget includes measures to help some people into work so that they can raise their standard of living, but also warned that it leaves millions more still locked in poverty.

One of the key themes the Public Affairs Unit team have been thinking about in our work is empowering people with the tools that they need to offer their contribution, no matter its size, thereby unlocking their potential and transforming their lives. The 2023 Spring Budget is tipped as a ‘back to work Budget’, with a focus on stricter conditions on benefits. The immediate question is: what about those who cannot work right now?

The Army’s food banks, shelters and debt and employment services are full of people who are locked out of employment for reasons they can’t control. People in this position often face a range of barriers, for example a lack of education or training, mental or physical health problems, disabilities, childcare or other caring responsibilities, homelessness, poor accommodation, or struggles with addiction.

Scripture gives us plenty to think about in terms of supporting them, from proportionate contributions and accepting someone’s all (see Luke 21:1–4; Mark 14:1–9; Matthew 14:13–21) to welcoming, rehabilitating and nurturing those who are lost (see Luke 15:11–32) and making adjustments to accommodate people with needs (see Luke 5:17–39). All this is loving others as we love God.

If the government is to successfully grow the economy, people struggling to earn must receive support to help them back into employment, rather than being sanctioned, potentially pushing them further into poverty.

As we think and talk about, and respond to, the Spring Budget, we must not forget those whose contribution cannot meet its demands, and endeavour to follow Jesus’ teaching in how we support them.

Reflect and respond

  • Listen to ‘Compelled by Love’. Who, or what, is Christ calling on you to serve?
  • Read the poem Footprints in the Sand. Consider how you can take comfort in knowing God will carry you during difficult times.

Written by

Photo of Josh Adcock.

Josh Adcock

Public Affairs Policy Analyst, Public Affairs Unit

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