Church Action on Poverty outlines cuts challenge to churches

By agency reporter
22 Oct 2010

Church Action on Poverty has responded to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) by challenging the Government to think again on its plans to cut benefits for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the country.

Niall Cooper, CAP's National Coordinator, said: “The announcement of a further £7 billion in cuts to the welfare budget made a nonsense of the Coalition’s commitment to ‘protect those on low incomes from the effects of spending constraints’. It will cause misery and hardship for the poorest and most vulnerable people in the country.”

CAP is calling on church leaders, and all Christians who are concerned about the plight of the poorest and most vulnerable, to speak up loudly, clearly and urgently, to make our elected politicians think again.

As with his Emergency Budget in June 2010, the Chancellor singled out the ‘welfare budget’ for disproportionate cuts, says CAP. £18 billion has now been cut from welfare. In spite of Government claims that “we are all in this together”, some groups have been singled out for harsh and entirely undeserved treatment.

Groups who will be hit particularly hard include people who by the Government’s own definition are too sick to work; disabled people living in residential care; single adults on low incomes aged up to 35; and families living in rented accommodation in areas where rents are high.

Niall Cooper comments: “Being disabled, ill or unable to afford to buy your own home is not a ‘lifestyle choice’ – yet these are the very groups singled out by the Chancellor for cuts in the Spending Review. The poorest are not responsible for this economic crisis, and should not be expected to bear an unfair and impossible burden for tackling the deficit. The Coalition must be challenged over its failure to keep its promise to protect those on the lowest incomes from the impact of spending cuts.”

Church Action on Poverty is calling on church leaders and Christians to voice their concerns directly to their elected Members of Parliament, in relation to these six key questions:

* Do you support cutting benefits for people who are too ill or disabled to work?

* Do you support cutting mobility benefits for people living in residential care?

* Do you support cutting housing benefit for single people and families who will be forced to move or made homeless as a result?

* Have you considered, or are you willing to take the trouble to find out, how these cuts will impact on your own constituents?

* If you do support these measures, are you willing to defend them publicly, and in person to those directly affected?

* And, if you do not support these measures, what specifically are you going to do to help convince the Coalition Government not to implement them over the coming months?

The campaigning network is also setting out information on the cuts and how they will affect poor and vulnerable people on its website (www.church-poverty.org.uk/csr ).

Church Action on Poverty is a national ecumenical Christian social justice charity, committed to tackling poverty in the UK.

[Ekk/3]

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