Benefit cuts to change behaviour are unpopular, ineffective and immoral, say Churches
04 November 2015
- Majority of UK adults believe benefits should be high enough to
cover families' basic costs
- Video: Why "enough"
Major UK Churches are warning that the Government's
Welfare Reform and Work Bill marks a dangerous shift away from a
core principle of the Welfare State and will make poor people even
A YouGov survey commissioned by the Churches
has also revealed that 61% of UK adults believe that welfare
benefits should be set at a level that allows families with
children to cover their basic costs. In contrast, only 25% of those
polled said they thought that benefits should be set deliberately
low to encourage families to find work or get more
report reveals that
the Benefit Cap, which reduces families' benefits by an average of
over £3,500 per year, has only resulted in 4.7% of families
finding work. However, 46% of families affected by the Cap
experienced increasing problems with rent arrears. This is despite
the Government's claims that reducing the amount of benefits people
are entitled to is an effective way of moving people into work.
"No child should be left without enough in order to
motivate their parents," said Paul Morrison, Public Issues Policy
Adviser for the Methodist Church and author of the report. "If
children live in a family which doesn't have enough money they are
more likely to die young, do worse at school, and experience worse
health. Many of these families are already in work and working very
hard. Any policy that claims that taking £1,000 from a family will
enhance the life-chances of its children, as the Bill does, is not
only supremely questionable but morally flawed."
The report, entitled "Enough: Our responsibility to
meet families' needs", has been published by the Baptist Union,
Church Action on Poverty, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist
Church, Quakers in Britain, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the
United Reformed Church, who together represent more than 840,000
people in Britain.
It highlights how the Bill threatens to undermine a
founding principle of the welfare state: namely, that the amount
families receive in benefits should be sufficient to meet their
basic needs. The Churches say the Bill will break the link between
what people need and the amount of support they can receive.
Families with children will be hardest hit by this change.
"Fairness to the taxpayer should not be
achieved at the expense of unfairness to children," Mr
Morrison continued. "As Christians we believe all people are made
in God's image. We do not believe that we should ever deliberately
deprive a person, a family, a child of enough to thrive or to
fulfill their God-given potential. We are asking that the welfare
state holds to its founding principles, and seeks to provide enough
so that every child can have the best chance in life."
People will soon be able to find out how different groups will
be affected by the Welfare Reform and Work Bill online here. The
Churches are asking people to pray, to read and share the report
to their MPs.
- Paul Morrison is available for interview - contact Toby
via email or on 0207 467 5208.
- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov
Plc. Total sample size was 1,595 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken
between 21st - 23rd October 2015. The survey was carried out
online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of
all GB adults (aged 18+).