Methodist Church calls for welfare with dignity

Methodists have expressed concern for lone parents and peoplereceiving incapacity benefits following the publication of theWelfare Reform White Paper yesterday.

While the proposals offer assistance to help some of the fivemillion people who claim benefits find employment, the Churchwarned the proposed bill would impose new conditions and potentialsanctions to a wide range of vulnerable people.

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

"The Church believes that those who are unable to work because ofillness, disability or caring responsibilities are valued and equalmembers of society and deserve a benefit system which acknowledgesthis."