11 December 2008

Methodist Church calls for welfare with dignity

Methodists have expressed concern for lone parents and people receiving incapacity benefits following the publication of the Welfare Reform White Paper yesterday.

While the proposals offer assistance to help some of the five million people who claim benefits find employment, the Church warned the proposed bill would impose new conditions and potential sanctions to a wide range of vulnerable people.

Paul Morrison, Methodist Policy Adviser, said: "Research from the Rowntree Foundation and others shows that those who claim benefits exist on inadequate incomes and want opportunities to work. Although a small minority may abuse the system, a package containing a focus on coercion risks stigmatising the poorest and, at worst, not treating the benefit claimants with the dignity they deserve.

"The Church believes that those who are unable to work because of illness, disability or caring responsibilities are valued and equal members of society and deserve a benefit system which acknowledges this."

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