Church leaders criticise Lord Freud’s failure to apologise on government’s behalf

  • "Apologise for misrepresenting the poor," Churches urgegovernment representative

Christian leaders, including the Right Revds Bishops Tim Stevensand Nick Baines, have criticised Lord Freud, Minister for WelfareReform, for failing to apologise on behalf of the government formisrepresenting the poor.

Twelve senior representatives from Churches and Christianorganisations in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have written to LordFreud after he failed to affirm that steps would be taken inorder to ensure that the poor would no longer be misrepresented bythe government.

"We do not wish to live in a society where personal responsibilityis demanded of the vulnerable but is not required of those whoexercise power," their letter states. "All people are valuedcreations of God who deserve to be treated with dignity andrespect. An essential component of this is to be spoken oftruthfully, including benefit claimants."

The Prime Minister David Cameron asked Lord Freud to reply on hisbehalf to a letter from ten Church denominations based in all fournations of the UK, as well as two major national ecumenicalcharities. 

The Church leaders' letter dated 6June expressed concern over government ministers makingdemonstrably untrue statements stigmatising the most vulnerable insociety. However, Lord Freud's reply "neither attempts to answernor even mentions any of the points raised" in their letter. Churchleaders criticised this neglect as "both surprising anddisappointing".

April saw some of the most controversial and wide ranging changesto the benefit system in a generation. In March, the Baptist Unionof Great Britain; the Church of Scotland; the Methodist Church inBritain and the United Reformed Church launched a report - The lies we tell ourselves: endingcomfortable myths about poverty - confronting the most commonmyths told about people who are in poverty or in receipt ofbenefits as well as highlighting some of the most abusedstatistics.



Read the Churches' letter to the Prime Minister  here.
Read Lord Freud's response here. 
Read the Churches reply to Lord Freud here.