Bishops and Church leaders call on Government ministers to apologise

* 11 Churches, 4 nations, 1 message

An alliance of Churches representing Christians from England,Scotland, Wales and Ireland has written to the Prime Ministerasking for an apology on behalf of the Government formisrepresenting the poor.   

Church leaders, including the Right Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop ofLeicester, and the Right Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford,pointed out that in recent weeks senior members of the Governmenthave given out misleading and inaccurate information about peopleon benefits. Outlining the inaccuracies, they asked for them to becorrected and for an apology to be offered to those who weremisrepresented.

"We are concerned that these inaccuracies paint some of the mostvulnerable in our society in an unfavourable light, stigmatisingthose who need the support of the benefits system," the letterstates. "No political or financial imperative can be given to makethis acceptable."

April saw some of the most controversial and wide rangingchanges to the benefit system in a generation. In their letter,Church leaders, including the leaders of the Methodist Church, theBaptist Union of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church, saidthat while they hold no common view on welfare reform, they allshare the belief that that those in receipt of benefits are lovedand valuable. 

"What unites us is the belief that the debate around thesereforms should be based on truthful information," they write. "Weask you, as Prime Minister and as leader of the Conservative Party,to ensure that the record is put straight, and that statistics areno longer manipulated in a way which stigmatises the poorest in oursociety."  


  1. The full text of the letterto the Prime Minister is availablehere.
  2. Appendix oneto the letter to the Prime Minister is available here.
  3. Appendix twoto the letter to the Prime Minister is available here.
  4. A separate letter from a number of the signatories waspublished in the Daily Telegraph today.
  5. Read a blogpost by Paul Morrison, Policy Adviser to the MethodistChurch, on the issues raised in the letter to the PrimeMinister.
  6. The signatories to the letter to the PrimeMinister are: 
  • The Revd Stephen Keyworth, The Baptist Union of GreatBritain
  • The Right Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford
  • Niall Cooper, National Coordinator, Church Action onPoverty
  • Alison Gelder, Chief Executive of Housing Justice
  • The Revd R. Kenneth Lindsay, President of the Methodist Churchin Ireland
  • The Right Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester
  • The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin, President of the MethodistConference
  • The Revd Robert Hopcroft, Chairman of the Moravian Church inGreat Britain and Ireland
  • Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
  • The Revd Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church andSociety Council, the Church of Scotland
  • The Very Revd Ian D Barcroft, Convener, Church in SocietyCommittee, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • The Revd Roberta Rominger, General Secretary of the UnitedReformed Church
  • The Revd Carol Wardman, Bishops' Adviser for Church andSociety, the Church in Wales