Caritas Social Action Network responds to the Summer Budget

By agency reporter
July 8, 2015

Speaking today after the Chancellor's Summer Budget, Helen O’Brien, Chief Executive of Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), the the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, made the following comments:

On the benefit cap

“The further capping of benefits will have severe consequences.

"The impact of the benefit cap has been felt hardest by households in London than elsewhere due to the cripplingly high cost of housing. The further lowering of the cap is only going to push families deeper into poverty or force them to move away from their family and their community.

"Families outside the capital are set to lose almost a quarter of their welfare support; it is inconceivable to think this will not lead to a further increase of people visiting foodbanks and relying on charities just to get by.”

On tax credits

“The number of working households in poverty has been rising over recent years, and for these people working tax credits have proved a vital lifeline. Therefore, whilst the announcement to increase the minimum wage is welcome, these changes to tax credits will mean people on low-incomes are still set to suffer.

"For many low-income working families, tax credits have been an important part in helping to shoulder the burden of the everyday costs of raising a family.

"Limiting child tax credits to two children means that larger families are going to feel a triple whammy from reduced tax credits, the freezing of working-age benefits for a further four years and the lowering of the benefit cap.”

On Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

“It is very disappointing that the support given to disabled people on Employment Support Allowance to find employment is to be scrapped.

"This move fails to recognise that many disabled people are on an active journey towards the workplace. Specific financial assistance and tailored support is extremely important in helping them into work, to provide for themselves and to build a sense of dignity and independence.

"In a labour market which has not proved the most accommodating, targeting this group will sadly only leave them further isolated and at risk of poverty."

On action from CSAN

“Next week, CSAN will launch our latest report on the impact of existing welfare reform on our member charities, their clients and staff.

"These new reforms further exacerbate the fears of CSAN and our member charities that the most vulnerable and poorest people are being put at greater risk.”

* Full 2015 budget coverage and commentary from Ekklesia at: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/budget2015

* CSAN http://www.csan.org.uk/

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