Bishop of Grimsby criticises plan to change benefits system
THE Bishop of Grimsby was among others who signed an open letter criticising plans to change the benefit system.
Forty-three bishops nationwide, including the Right Reverend David Rossdale, wrote the letter to The Sunday Telegraph, saying the benefits cuts will have a "deeply disproportionate" effect on children.
The Government announced plans to limit rises in working-age benefits and some tax credits to one per cent for three years. But the Department for Work and Pensions said changing the system will help get people "into work and out of poverty".
The letter calls on politicians to "protect" children and families, and has been supported by the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend John Sentamu, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
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"Children and families are already being hit hard by cuts to support, including those to tax credits, maternity benefits and help with housing costs," it reads.
"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."
The letter is in support of a campaign by the Children's Society which it said has also received support from the Roman Catholic and Methodist Churches, the Baptist Union, the United Reform Church and the Evangelical Alliance.
he Bishop of Leicester, the Right Reverend Tim Stevens, who leads bishops in the House of Lords, said: "The bishops feel we have to be involved as it is no longer true to say these people are costing us money because they are feckless or lazy.
"We are talking about people who are working hard to support their families.
We are facing families who will have to choose from April 1 between buying food for their children and paying their rent, or between feeding their children and turning the fire on."
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "In difficult economic times we've protected the incomes of pensioners and disabled people, and most working age benefits will continue to increase 1 per cent.
"This was a tough decision but it's one that will help keep the welfare bill sustainable in the longer term.
"By raising the personal allowance threshold, we've lifted 2 million people out of tax altogether, clearly benefiting people on a low income."