I'm an opponent of the Church of England stance on many things, but on the subject of poverty I strongly agree with them. The following letter (original source) signed by 43 Bishops is an example of religion standing up for the poor. Even though the Church of England is an integral part of the archaic and pseudo-democratic UK establishment system, in this instance they are standing up to the government in defence of the poor and the young by presenting compelling evidence that government policy will directly impact the lives of the poorest and youngest in society.
Sir, Next week, members of the House of Lords will debate the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill.
The Bill will mean that for each of the next three years, most financial support for families will increase by no more than 1 per cent, regardless of how much prices rise.
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.
These are children and families from all walks of life. The Children’s Society calculates that a single parent with two children, working on an average wage as a nurse would lose £424 a year by 2015. A couple with three children and one earner, on an average wage as a corporal in the British Army, would lose £552 a year by 2015.
However, 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.
Rt Rev Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester
Rt Rev John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds
Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich
Rt Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham
Rt Rev Richard Frith, Bishop of Hull
Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford
Rt Rev David Rossdale, Bishop of Grimsby
Rt Rev Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans
Rt Rev David Walker, Bishop of Dudley
Rt Rev Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter
Rt Rev Humphrey Southern, Bishop of Repton
Rt Rev Chris Edmondson, Bishop of Bolton
Rt Rev David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham
Rt Rev Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon
Rt Rev Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover
Rt Rev Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney
Rt Rev John Wraw, Bishop of Bradwell
Rt Rev James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
Rt Rev Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster
Rt Rev Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead
Rt Rev Clive Young, Bishop of Dunwich
Rt Rev Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro
Rt Rev Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield
Rt Rev Jonathan Gledhill, Bishop of Lichfield
Rt Rev John Inge, Bishop of Worcester
Rt Rev Peter Price, Bishop of Bath and Wells
Rt Rev Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely
Rt Rev Alistair Redfern, Bishop of Derby
Rt Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester
Rt Rev James Bell, Bishop of Knaresborough
Rt Rev Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol
Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark
Rt Rev Nigel Stock, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich
Rt Rev John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford
Rt Rev Ian Brackley, Bishop of Dorking
Rt Rev Jonathan Frost, Bishop of Southampton
Rt Rev Stephen Platten, Bishop of Wakefield
Rt Rev David Thomson, Bishop of Huntingdon
Rt Rev John Holbrook, Bishop of Brixworth
Rt Rev Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester
Rt Rev Peter Hancock, Bishop of Basingstoke
Rt Rev Andrew Proud, Bishop of Reading
Rt Rev Anthony Priddis, Bishop of Hereford
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