27 bishops slam David Cameron's welfare reforms as creating a national crisis in unprecedented attack(22 Posts)
Britain’s leading bishops denounce David Cameron’s welfare reforms for creating a “national crisis”.
In an unprecedented attack on the Tory-led Coalition, 27 Anglican bishops and 16 other clergy accuse the Tory-led coalition of creating hardship and hunger.
For so many leading members of the clergy to launch such a direct attack on the Government of the day is unprecedented.
This is the most significant political move by the Church of England since its Faith in the City report in the 1980s attacking Margaret Thatcher’s cuts.
It underlines the deep concern felt by the churches over the Coalition’s brutal welfare cuts which have left so many facing hunger and hardship.
In a letter to the Daily Mirror, 27 Anglican bishops and 16 other faith leaders say the PM has a “moral duty” to act on the growing number going hungry.
The intervention comes after Britain’s leading Catholic Archbishop Vincent Nichols said the Government’s benefit cuts were a “disgrace.”
A rattled Mr Cameron hit back by claiming the reforms were a “moral mission” and gave people “hope”.
But he is now also at war with the Church of England and other faith groups including the Quakers and Methodists.
In their letter the bishops say “Britain is the world’s seventh largest economy and yet people are going hungry.”
It continues: “We must, as a society, face up to the fact that over half of people using foodbanks have been put in that situation by cut backs to and failures in the benefit system, whether it be payment delays or punitive sanctions.”
Signed by 27 of the 59 Church of England bishops, it notes that half a million people have visited foodbanks since last Easter, while 5,500 people were admitted to hospital in the UK for malnutrition last year.
Yes, I think the Coalition should face up to the near starvation they are
causing. Up to now Camerons crew are IN DENIAL It is not good enough. Not to say callous.
That malnutrition statistic is going to include all kinds of people, including those suffering from eating disorders and gastro-intestinal conditions which are not at all attributable to poverty. We also have a far bigger national crisis with obesity and obesity-related health problems so that aspect of the argument doesn't really stack up.
Food supply & cost is an issue, however. The demand coming from emerging markets such as China for foods that were previously out of their reach is exponential. When billions of Chinese soak up great reserves of food supplies, what's left suddenly command much higher prices.
The church rightfully is reporting what it sees, but we are in what is called ‘the great recession’ because it is the worst recession in 80-years, and we are not out of it yet.
I would argue on wider ‘moral’ grounds why we over and above the recession we have such a welfare dependent economy, when we chose that is was more expedient to provide election winning ‘growf’, by the use of reckless government spending of more than what we annually earned often on government ‘non jobs’.
And that rather than take medium term measures to educate and train our own unemployed, chose to ‘sub out’ jobs to Europe for a quick electoral fix showing short term prosperity, leaving a domestic social mess behind that unreformed was unaffordable through the boom, never mind the bust.
Domestic unemployment and by default unemployment costs, should FALL during what was a global boom and when Brown is bragging about record UK employment, but it wasn’t, it was rising as some of the paragraphs from the link below shows – was this morally correct, or a price worth paying for Blair’s ‘couch cabinet’ of trusted advisors in the early 2000’s, who knew that East Europeans are likely to vote for socialist governments, especially the one that gave them their opportunity.
"Welfare spending in Britain has increased faster than almost any other country in Europe since 2000, new figures show
The cost of unemployment benefits, housing support and pensions as share of the economy has increased by more than a quarter over the past thirteen years – growing at a faster rate than in most of the developed world
In the developed world, only the United States and the stricken eurozone states of Ireland, Portugal and Spain - which are blighted by high unemployment - have increased spending quicker than Britain
And in Britain since 2010, when the Coalition came to power, spending on welfare as share of GDP has barely moved – falling by just a quarter of one per cent over three years, according to OECD data.
By contrast, more than a third of developed nations have cut their welfare bills steeply in that period. Germany has cut social security spending as a share of GDP by 3.4 per cent, Canada by 3 per cent, Iceland by 4.2 per cent, Switzerland by 7 per cent and Estonia by 11 per cent
Despite Mr Osborne’s promise to get welfare under control, the benefits bill is due to increase rapidly in cash terms, from £180bn this year to £203bn in 2018-19.”
All that can be done to help those that need help is a priority for over stretched services, and while as a country we are still spending £100 billion a year than we earn (from over £150 billion in 2010), the coalitions rise in pensions and taking people out of tax until £10,000 of income tax while not enough, it was more than the party did during the boom times, when their ‘morals’ had no qualms about the consequences of open door economic migration.
No lectures from your government on this issue please Mr Miliband, as you were a senior member of that pre 2010 government.
It's telling that you have to obfuscate and mislead people, isitmebut in order to defend Tory policies.
What your Torygraph article actually states is:
"The cost of unemployment benefits, housing support and pensions as share of the economy has increased by more than a quarter over the past thirteen years – growing at a faster rate than in most of the developed world. "
The largest Welfare - i.e. Social Security - spending by a large margin is on Pensions. You know, those things which the Tory scum won't touch because it's primarily old white men who vote for them.
The next largest chunk is on Housing Benefit, and 1/5th of these people are in work.
Overall, roughly a third of recipients of social security in one form or another are in work.
The problem with Welfare spending in the the UK is that we are subsidising businesses who pay shit wages. House prices and the cost of living are too high, and wages are too low. People can't survive on poverty wages, so many of them claim.
If you genuinely wanted to reduce social security spending per se instead of making a purely ideological attack on benefits for the poor, you would insist of employers paying a living wage.
And btw, the minimum wage has been outstripped by inflation since its inception, so now it is effectively 'worthless' in terms of keeping people out of poverty.
Here's a Daily Heil link for people more inclined to believe right-wing rags:
"The paper advised that the government should seek to address low wages, rather than trying to compensate by funnelling more money into benefits.
The paper said: 'At a minimum, it is clear that broad-based income growth in an era of extreme fiscal constraint will require a more assertive effort to tackle low pay at its source, rather than compensating for a lack of wage growth through rising welfare spending.' "
Why doesn't the church do something about it instead of criticising a government that is only trying to run a country in a fiscally responsible way? Didn't it used to be the churches responsibility to provide poverty relief?
Like it or not, the days of the all encompassing welfare state providing people with a living from cradle to grave are over. People need to realise this. Labour can't do anything about it.
> Why doesn't the church do something about it instead of criticising a government that is only trying to run a country in a fiscally responsible way?
This isn't about the government running the country in a fiscally responsible way. It's an ideological attack on social security.
> Didn't it used to be the churches responsibility to provide poverty relief?
Ah yes, in Victorian times... Thankfully society has progressed from that stage. Church and charity cannot replace state services. They simply don't have the money or resources.
> Like it or not, the days of the all encompassing welfare state providing people with a living from cradle to grave are over.
What are you talking about? Who receives money from an all encompassing welfare state providing people with a living from cradle to grave? The Queen?
Do you actually have any idea whatsoever about who claims in this country and for what reason? Do you have any idea what the rate of fraud is?
> People need to realise this. Labour can't do anything about it.
Labour doesn't want to do anything about it. It's a neo-liberal party like the other two main parties.
The only people who can stop society regressing to Victorian times are the people. And believe me, it's going to spill over in to serious long-term violence one day if this keeps up.
How can the people stop it? Where will they get the money from to keep the welfare state going as it has been in recent decades?
"Who receives money from an all encompassing welfare state providing people with a living from cradle to grave? The Queen? "
Everyone in the UK. In theory can be born courtesy of the NHS, receive free nursery places and education & take advantage of state help if we don't earn enough to be self-sufficient from that point until death. Thought you of all people, a socialist, would know that 'cradle to grave' was one of Beveridge's foundation beliefs.
Ttosca…re your post,*the argument re party politics/ideology fades when looking at international comparisons that show our welfare bill was rising faster than Europe during the boom, and has fallen faster than ours since 2010, were we growing more pensioners during the boom, and is Europe now turning theirs into ‘Soylent Green’ to feed the rest of their population?*
Clearly pensions are a large part of the of the UK welfare/benefits Bill, and as the percentage of retirees increase our bill WILL go up, but that bill will not account for our rise,
The increase in our welfare/benefits Bill has risen as a direct consequence of our immigration policy, as just taking the under 24-year olds unemployment rate, never mind the adults, as 1.5 – 2.0 million came here and the majority found work, how can the figures go up (using the May/July quarter in each year) from 580,000 in 2004, to 711,000 in 2007, and reach 921,000 when Labour left office, WITHOUT the cost of unemployment going up?
Now that figure in itself might not be large, but if they were the ones IN WORK, what would the tax RECEIPTS and personal spending have done the the welfare bill and our national finances, even assuming that the economic growth would been the same?
As property/rental prices shot up due to the increased demand for housing from 2004, how much more did Housing Benefits costs go up by?
What was the dilution of domestic pay rates with those 1.5 to 2.0 million new employees in the job pool, rather than a tighter job market with our unemployed in work – as the higher pay rates would go, the less Tax Credits would be needed.
Businesses don’t tend to pay up when they have an abundance of employees to chose from, especially in the low skilled workforce, it’s when the workforce numbers are TIGHT, that wages increase – which is why it is always better to focus on CREATING private sector jobs, not losing them and then telling them (like Miliband) the State wants to control your profits when they get in power.
Lower taxes TO INCREASE THE POPULATIONS TAKE HOME PAY should also be in a governments fiscal tool box, but Labour taking an annual Budget SURPLUS and then over years, with an unbalanced economy was cumulatively borrowing more and more money to pay the annual bills, and then left that £150 billion annual deficit (the LARGEST of all the European countries including the basket cases), that option was severely limited.
Furthermore the annual service bill of running that £1.3 trillion national debt (that was around £400 billion in 2001) currently just over £50 billion and will increase substantially as the debt and interest rates rise, has to come out of our annual government spending budgets.
_So penalising businesses/employers due to government incompetence running the country destroys investment and job growth, as so does the sending out of our children from schools equipped only for low skilled work when there is less of it about – especially when still emerging from the larges recession in 80-years and those businesses are still concerned about investing/employing for the medium to long term, and (due to Milibands rhetoric) the likely prospects of a Labour government in 2015.
“Uk Chief CFO’s feeling upbeat and ready to take risks”
So in the meantime just think what government could be doing for ‘the people’ via more tax cuts and focused government spending IF during the 2000’s the Labour government had NOT made several key irresponsible decisions on migration, annual deficit spending and increased welfare spending during a global boom, and the unbalancing of the UK economy, prior to the credit fuelled bust in 2007.
The money was there for any government in the decade to 1997 to 2007, to make a huge difference to our social and economic future and Labour blew it. Huge 'sticky plaster' unreformed spending they called economic 'growf' was unsustainable and we have the debts (and limited options) to show for it, by giving even more fiscal help to compensate for negative 'real' earnings and help the poorest in society.
Why is the coalition making a public spectacle of picking on the poor?
We're living in truly Orwellian times when the British state removes all avenues for the individual to hold it to account
"We're living in truly Orwellian times when the British state removes all avenues for the individual to hold it to account".
And yet voter remain faithful to the political party than ensured by policy and reckless spending, that the poor remain poor. When will Brown's government team, mostly still in office, be "held to account" for 13-year of maladministration?
The church irritates me. Bishops irritate me. And that's not me defending the government. What does the church actually do other than moralize! Is there something they could be doing to help the situation?? They're not actually run off their feet with their own congregations. Churches are pretty empty these days aren't they. They have a bit of work to do in that area themselves, and they need to demonstrate that they're moving with the times and can RELATE to people.
It's all very well going on about 'the poor' and looking like they care more than anyone else.
I'm Tory but not happy with this lot in the slightest. But this smacks of political manoeuvring. Where were these Bishops when Labour were invading other countries, murdering and profiteering? Do they only object when it's not a trendy labour government doing terrible things? Hypocrisy seems so much worse when it's justified by religion.
Very good point, Onesleep. Where were they over Blair's wars?
Pleased spme Tories are not happy about IDS attack on the poor. Random SANCTIONS are now leaving people pennyless for weeks And are under investigation About time too
The church irritates me. Bishops irritate me. And that's not me defending the government. What does the church actually do other than moralize! Is there something they could be doing to help the situation?? They're not actually run off their feet with their own congregations. Churches are pretty empty these days aren't they.
What are the churches doing about it? My church (C of E, about 140 adults most Sundays) runs a free debt counselling service, helps with the town foodbank, gives voluntary labour to help people decorate their homes if they aren't in a position to do it themselves, helps with the local homeless shelter and soup kitchen, supports ex-offenders being rehabilitated into society, visits the elderly in a local care home, runs a support group for families with special needs kids, contributes to the town Street Pastors scheme keeping vulnerable people out on the town safe on Friday and Saturday nights, does numerous charity collections throughout the year for local, national and international charities, supports families through a community toddler group, and puts together parcels for kids overseas to have Christmas presents. Currently we are seeing if we can raise funds to help disadvantaged families to go on a holiday. And, as a church, we help form community which people can be a part of free of charge, providing companionship and pastoral care to whoever needs it. And that's just one church, there are thousands in the UK doing all sorts of wonderful, grassroots community stuff that you hardly ever see in the media.
And the churches aren't empty. Six million adults in the UK go to church at least once a month, making it one of the biggest participation activity in the UK. The three main political parties have a combined membership of under 400,000, making active church membership 15 times larger than mainstream political involvement.
The churches are able to speak out on these issues because they have a big constituency of volunteers out there on the ground helping day in, day out. A bishop spends a lot of time with parish priests and church volunteers who are dealing with community issues every day. They are in touch with the broad sweep of what is happening in the country, probably more so than a cabinet minister who largely sees politicians, civil servants and lobbyists.
Mostly the churches quietly get on with doing what they do, but occasionally they are moved to point out why they have people coming to them with no food, or with massive debts, or with no roof over their heads. And that is what the church has been doing for 200 years, and will keep doing, even if it does make politicians uncomfortable.
Animation- you haven't a clue what you are talking about! Who do you think runs the food banks? I run an employment programme in one of the most socially deprived areas of Scotland, and all I can say is thank god for the churches. They run the foodbanks and homeless shelters. No one else is volunteering.
Scarlettsmummy2 - Sounds like you're doing good work in your parish in Scotland.
I'm afraid the churches in my area of England are pretty much empty.
And I am yet to be convinced that Bishops are grounded in real life and engage with real people.
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