Peter Green: March 2016
The BBC reported that Iain Duncan Smith resigned as work and pensions secretary because the latest cuts to welfare were " a compromise too far" in a Budget that benefits higher earning taxpayers. He further said that the government could not keep taking money from the working poor. Whilst others have questioned his motives, it has raised the issue of the fairness of some government policies and the widening gap between rich and poor.
Sharing that concern is the Church Action on Poverty. At the end of 2015, this group of six Christian denominations published a report called ENOUGH which concluded that," The Welfare Reform and Work Bill will make poor people poorer. This will happen through a large reduction in benefits. The government has not assessed how families will be able to cope on incomes that are greatly reduced. The hardship caused is likely to be substantial." The 1942 Beveridge Report and the principle of ensuring that every family had enough "was conceived and implemented at a time of extraordinary scarcity and when the country was encumbered by huge debt." The report urged the government to hold to this central principle.
So as we Christians celebrate the life, death and continued influence of Jesus Christ this Easter weekend, we recall that he was constantly standing up for the disadvantaged. As his followers we are called to do likewise and to fight injustice. Whatever we think of Iain Duncan Smith, if we share a concern on the fairness of the policies of any government, we can add our voices, pens and keyboards to those members of all parties who seek a fairer, more caring society.
To download a .pdf copy of the Enough Report, click here.
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