CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network), the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has warned that the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill will ‘hurt the poorest individuals and families in our society’ by capping benefit increases significantly below inflation.
The strongly-worded statement came ahead of the Bill’s Second Reading debate in Parliament later today. It follows recent calls by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, for parliamentarians to “ensure a safety net is always in place to protect essentials such as food and shelter for those who fall on hard times”.
CSAN Chief Executive Helen O’Brien said this morning:
“Benefit payments should always be sufficient to cover the basics of family life including housing, meals, heating and clothing. Already we are seeing a serious number of cases where this is simply not happening, and today’s move will leave even more people struggling to afford such fundamental necessities.”
Drawing attention to the long-term risks she added:
“This Bill will make short-term cost savings but it will hurt the poorest individuals and families in our society, creating greater human and economic costs in the future.”
Rosemary Keenan, CEO of the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster), one of CSAN’s member charities working with poorer families in Greater London emphasised that the Bill will impact upon working families as well as the unemployed:
“It is hard for many of us to imagine what it is like for a mother to only have £1 left and know she still has to feed her children before the next payday. Families facing in-work poverty rely upon Working Tax Credits and other benefits to help make ends meet, and will face serious hardship as a result of these restrictions.”
CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) is the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
The Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) is a CSAN member charity working in the Diocese of Westminster to address the issues that prevent children from reaching their full physical, emotional and educational potential and which affect the well-being and stability of the family
Archbishop Nichols addressed parliamentarians at a CSAN event in the House of Commons on 28 November 2012.
Public Affairs Officer
CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network)