Don't stigmatise benefit claimants, says Kirk minister

By staff writers
9 Nov 2010

The convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council has written to every Scottish MP at Westminster, urging a rethink on housing benefits.

The move comes ahead of a key housing benefits debate in parliament.

The Rev Ian Galloway points out in his letter that welfare benefits are intended to alleviate poverty, and expresses concern about the stigmatisation of those in receipt of benefits in current public debate.

The political discourse over benefits associates error and fraud in immediate proximity to each other, he says.

Writing in his blog, Mr Galloway declares: “A mark of any society is how it cares for the vulnerable. It is not possible for any society to guarantee equality of outcomes for all it is however, possible to achieve equality of opportunities.”

The senior Kirk minister argues that any proposals for welfare reform which puts barriers upon the ability of individuals and families to survive with dignity when they are in a vulnerable position "undermines us as a society".

Mr Galloway continues: “I am concerned that this is being done deliberately and that the incidence of what is extreme cases being used as a cover for reforms that harms those in need, whose care is our moral duty as a society.”

[Ekk/3]

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