Churches ‘deeply disappointed’ at Osborne’s defence of benefit cuts

Four major British Churches have described Chancellor GeorgeOsborne's defence of the Government's benefit cuts as 'deeplydisappointing,' following his speech earlier today. 

"We are deeply disappointed that Mr Osborne is continuing to usethe misguided rhetoric of people on benefits versus 'hardworkingtaxpayers'. The Government's own figures show that most people onbenefits not only want to work, but many of them are already inwork and paying high rates of tax," said Paul Morrison, PublicIssues Policy Adviser, speaking on behalf of the Baptist Union ofGreat Britain, Methodist Church, United Reformed Church and Churchof Scotland.

"We desperately want people to achieve their God-given potential,but that can't happen when the most vulnerable are being made evenpoorer. The churches are serving their local communities day in andday out. They reflect the breadth of society and are in touch withthe needs of the people they serve. We hope to reflect thoseconcerns, and we look forward to the day when myths about povertyare no longer acceptable in public life.

"While nine out of ten working households will benefit from anincreased tax allowance, the poorest working households willbenefit the least and will be affected most by the benefit cutsintroduced this month. It is absolutely clear that the net resultof these changes will not be nine out of ten working householdsbetter off, as has been widely reported." 

The Churches' report, The lies we tell ourselves, says that statistics have beenmanipulated and misused by politicians across the spectrum, as wellas by the media, to support the belief that the poor deserve theirpoverty, and therefore deserve the cuts.

The Chancellor has been sent a copy of the report.

"This is not a party political issue - sidelining andmisrepresenting the poor is unacceptable whoever you are," added MrMorrison. "Lies about poverty are the responsibility of us all,whether we tell, share or just tolerate them. It is everyone's dutyto ensure that the poor are not misrepresented and that policymatches up to hard facts.

"We invite Mr Osborne to read the report and consider how he mightchallenge myths about poverty as he seeks to balance Britain'sbooks." 


1. Read the Churches' full report and take action here. 
2. Paul Morrison is available for interview - contact a member ofthe MediaService.
3. A hi-res image of Paul is available here. 
4. Follow the debate on Twitter using the hashtag #liesaboutpoverty.