Bishops issue warning on child poverty

43 bishops of the Church of England have signed a letter to the Sunday Telegraph warning that benefits cuts being proposed by the coalition will have a 'deeply disproportionate' effect on children.

The letter was sent ahead of the House of Lords debate on the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill, which will cap annual increases in many benefits at one per cent for the next three years, regardless of inflation.

Key quotes

  • 'This is a change that will have a deeply disproportionate impact on families with children, pushing 200,000 children into poverty. A third of all households will be affected by the Bill, but nearly nine out of 10 families with children will be hit.'
  • 'The change will hit the poorest the hardest. About 60 per cent of the savings from the uprating cap will come from the poorest third of households. Only 3 per cent will come from the wealthiest third.'
  • 'If prices rise faster than expected, children and families will no longer have any protection against this. This transfers the risk of high inflation rates from the Treasury to children and families, which is unacceptable.'
  • 'Children and families are already being hit hard by cuts to support, including those to tax credits, maternity benefits, and help with housing costs. They cannot afford this further hardship penalty. We are calling on the House of Lords to take action to protect children from the impact of this Bill.'

Although the letter itself was not signed by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, both he and Archbishop of York explicitly endorsed its message. They said in a press statement on the same day as the letter: 'Politicians have a clear choice. By protecting children from the effects of this Bill, they can help fulfil their commitment to end child poverty'.

Source: Letter to Sunday Telegraph, 10 March 2013 | Press release 10 March 2013, Archbishop of Canterbury
LinksLetter | Archbishop press release | Daily Mail report (1) | Daily Mail report (2) | Ekklesia report | Guardian report | Telegraph report

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