Osborne's talk of 'skivers' bears scant relation to the truth
The following is the full text of the letter to the Observer newspaper (9 December 2012), on the impact of the government's autumn budget statement, from charities, churches, trade unions and NGOs. Ekklesia fully endorses the sentiment and message of this letter.
Last week's autumn statement marks a watershed in our welfare system, breaking the long-standing link between benefits and either earnings or prices. The policies announced are a bitter blow for hundreds of thousands of low-income families struggling to make ends meet in the face of overwhelming austerity.
Economic analysis of the government's announcements shows clearly that the poorest have been hit hardest. Plans to cap increases in benefits and tax credits at a meagre one per cent for the next three years will far outweigh any gains from increasing the personal tax allowance. This will hurt children, leaving a damaging legacy.
While the chancellor paints a picture of so-called "strivers" and "skivers", our organisations see the reality: families scraping by in low-paid work, or being bounced from insecure jobs to benefits and back again.
The truth is that the vast majority of those who rely on benefits and tax credits are either in work, have worked, or will be in work in the near future. They and their families are making their contribution to society and are entitled to genuine security, as Beveridge intended.
As we mark the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report, which laid the foundations of the welfare state, we risk losing the very safety net that he intended. It is a punitive, unfair policy and must not happen.
Alison Garnham, Child Poverty Action Group
Anne Longfield, chief executive, 4Children;
Ged Nichols, Accord
Dann Kenningham, National Coordination Team, ATD Fourth World
Dr Mary Bousted, Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Anne Marie Carrie, Chief Executive, Barnardo's
Gerry Morrissey, General Secretary, BECTU
Cathy Corcoran OBE, Chief Executive, Cardinal Hume Centre
Lesley Mercer, Director, Employment Relations and Union Services, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Anne Houston, Chief Executive, CHILDREN 1ST
Sean O'Neill, Policy director, Children in Wales
Paola Uccellari, Director, Children's Rights Alliance for England
Matthew Reed, Chief Executive, Children's Society
Niall Cooper, National Coordinator, Church Action on Poverty
Margaret Lynch, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice Scotland
Geraldine Blake, Chief Executive, Community Links
Srabani Sen, Chief Executive, Contact a Family
Leslie Morphy, Chief Executive, Crisis
Billy Hayes, CWU General Secretary
Anand Shukla, Chief Executive, Daycare Trust
Liz Sayce, Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK
Martin Barnes, Chief Executive, DrugScope
Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of the Educational Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)Institute of Scotland (EIS)
Enver Solomon, Chair of End Child Poverty Coalition
Laura Courtney, Campaign Manager, Every Disabled Child Matters
Helen Dent, Chief Executive, Family Action
Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive, Family Rights Group
Ceri Goddard, Chief Executive, Fawcett Society
Gerri McAndrew, Chief Executive, Frank Buttle Trust
Fiona Weir, Chief Executive, Gingerbread
Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, Grandparents Plus
Rick Henderson, Chief Executive, Homeless Link
Alison Gelder, Director, Housing Justice
Bill Scott, Manager, Inclusion Scotland
Terence Stokes, Chief Executive, Lasa
Les Allamby, Director, Law Centre (Northern Ireland)
Julie Bishop, Director, Law Centres Network
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT
Hilary Emery, Chief Executive, National Children's Bureau
Stewart Wallis, Executive Director, New Economics Foundation
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT
Satwat Rehman, Director, One Parent Families, Scotland
Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive, Oxfam
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, Public and Commercial Services Union
Steve Gillan, General Secretary, POA - The Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional & Secure Psychiatric Workers
Bob Crow, General Secretary, RMT
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