Posted: 11 March 2013

Bishops’ letter highlights severe cuts in benefit up-rating bill

Yesterday, the Sunday Telegraph published a letter signed by 43 bishops, calling for children to be protected from the welfare benefit up-rating bill making its way through parliament.

The letter highlights the deeply disproportionate impact the bill on children and families, emphasising that while less than a third of households in Britain are affected by the bill, nearly nine out of every ten families with children are affected, including 19 of 20 single-parent families.

As you can see using our welfare benefit up-rating bill calculator these are children and families from every walk of life – nurses, teacher and armed forces personnel. However, the poorest children will pay the biggest price: 60% of the savings from this bill are made from the poorest third of households, while only 3% from the richest third.

Ongoing cuts

Families are already struggling to make ends meet, and face ongoing cuts to support, from cuts to council tax benefit to the introduction of the 'bedroom tax'. The benefit up-rating bill will put even more pressure on families, meaning that as costs of living rise, they will find it harder and harder to keep paying the bills.

In his response to the letter, the Archbishop of Canterbury said: 'As a civilised society we have a duty to support those among us who are vulnerable and in need. When times are hard, that duty should be felt more than ever. As it currently stands, the up-rating fails to meet this responsibility.'

The bill will cut support for 11.5 million children. These children don’t have a vote, but if they did, it is difficult to believe that they would vote for this bill as it currently stands.

Next week members of the House of Lords will get an opportunity to vote on amendments to the benefit up-rating bill. Along with the bishops, we are calling on peers to make changes that protect children and families.

By Sam Royston - Policy team

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