Archbishop of Canterbury criticises government proposals to change the benefit system
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has criticised Government plans to alter the current benefits system, arguing that the proposed changes would have a “deeply disproportionate effect on children” and could result in an increase in levels of poverty.
The rating bill, titled Welfare Benefits Up, proposes limiting benefit rises in working- age benefits and certain tax credits to 1% per year until 2016. Work and Pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has claimed that this will help bring spending “back under control”.
The Archbishop, however, has contended this, stating that these proposals, if put into action, could push a large number of children into poverty and fail to protect families against the rising cost of living. Indeed, rises in the prices of food, fuel and accommodation are a particular cause for concern.
Welby stated: “As a civilised society, we have a duty to support those among us who are vulnerable and in need.” He then added: “These changes will mean it is children and families who will pay the price for high inflation, rather than the Government.”
43 other Church of England Bishops have also voiced their disapproval of these reforms. In an open letter written to The Sunday Telegraph, the Bishops urged politicians to “protect” children and families in need.
The new welfare bill will be debated in coming weeks, with bishops tabling an amendment that attempts to spare all child related benefits from the 1% cap.