Alton Webteam: November 2015
Enough is enough
Major UK Churches (including the Methodist Church) are warning that the government's Welfare Reform and Work Bill marks a dangerous shift away from a core principle of the Welfare State and will make poor people even poorer.
A YouGov survey commissioned by the Churches has also revealed that 61% of UK adults believe that welfare benefits should be set at a level that allows families with children to cover their basic costs. In contrast, only 25% of those polled said they thought that benefits should be set deliberately low to encourage families to find work or get more work.
"No child should be left without enough in order to motivate their parents," said Paul Morrison, Public Issues Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church and author of the report. "If children live in a family which doesn't have enough money, they are more likely to die young, do worse at school, and experience worse health. Many of these families are already in work and working very hard. Any policy that claims that taking £1,000 from a family will enhance the life-chances of its children, as the Bill does, is not only supremely questionable but morally flawed."
The report, Enough: Our responsibility to meet families' needs, highlights how the Bill threatens to undermine a founding principle of the Welfare State: namely, that the amount families receive in benefits should be sufficient to meet their basic needs. The Churches say the Bill will break the link between what people need and the amount of support they can receive. Families with children will be hardest hit by this change.
"As Christians we believe all people are made in God's image," continued Paul. "We do not believe that we should ever deliberately deprive a person, a family, a child of enough to thrive or to fulfil their God-given potential. We are asking that the Welfare State holds to its founding principles, and seeks to provide enough so that every child can have the best chance in life."
The Churches are asking people to pray, to read the report here (along with a short video explaining why Enough matters) and write to their MPs.
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