A senior Church of Scotland minister has today (27 October 2009) called on the government to review the provision of benefits so that those in need are properly supported.
The Rev Sandy Horsburgh, vice-convener of the Kirk's Church and Society Council, says he is particularly concerned over reports from the Citizens Advice Scotland today that the recent Employment Support Allowance changes have been causing hardship to some of the most vulnerable in society.
The Church and Society Council, in its response to the consultation on welfare changes, has shared the public aspiration in Scotland for a welfare system that is dignified, supportive, well-resourced and suitable for taking forward a joined-up approach to tackling poverty. The council cautioned at that time that the proposals took the system in a different direction.
Speaking this afternoon Mr Horsburgh said: “It gives us no pleasure to see that being borne out in practice. The gospel has a particular concern for the poor and, at times of financial pressure, it is even more vital that the poorest are protected. Attacking the most vulnerable is not the mark of [a] society that we wish to be part of and should not be the mark of our future. Therefore, we call on the government to review the current provisions to ensure that those who are truly in need are properly supported.”
The Church of Scotland is a Presbyterian denomination and the country's largest church body.