The Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council has called on politicians making difficult economic decisions to ensure that the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable come first.
In a statement this week, the Council says it "recognises that hard measures will have to be taken in order to reduce the vast debts that the country now owes following the credit crunch. There will be no quick or easy fixes. Cuts will have to be made but they must be both proportionate and bearable."
However, having "listened, with increasing concern, to the rhetoric on cuts emanating from the political parties during this conference season", it is urging justice and compassion on decision-makers.
"In particular, the announcement of policies which would adversely affect the income of lower paid workers, people fleeing persecution and those reliant on benefits are cause for concern," say the Kirk representatives.
They continue: "The Bible teaches that God has a bias towards the poor and vulnerable. We must recognise this in our approach to the current difficulties."
The Rev Ian Galloway, convener of the Church and Society Council, said: “It is the mark of a civilised society that we support those in greatest need, not attack them when times get tough, because they are the easiest target.”
The Church of Scotland Church and Society Council is therefore calling on all political parties to make protection of the poor and vulnerable their top priority as they address the difficulties that the country faces, he said.