Westminster: Catholic Church voices concern over latest welfare cuts

Following today’s Comprehensive Spending Review, CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network), the social action arm of the Catholic Church has voiced concerns about the proposed changes on some of the most vulnerable and marginalised households in the UK.

Commenting CSAN’s Public Affairs Officer, Liam Allmark said: “We welcome the Government’s commitment to preserve funding for the pupil premium, which is a vital resource for many children living in poverty. However, we have real concerns about other announcements including the cap on welfare spending, the 10% reduction in local government funding and the introduction of new barriers for those trying to access benefits.

“The further cuts in funding to local authorities are particularly worrying given the current trend in localising benefits. With Council Tax Support and Crisis Loans now being administered directly by local Councils at their discretion, we have serious concerns that vulnerable individuals could be left without appropriatesupport.”

“The proposed seven-day wait before jobseekers can claim benefits could cause severe financial hardship for families who are already trying to balance tight budgets and meet rent payments. Without robust safeguards in place, the requirement that claimants learn English has the potential to penalise some of the most vulnerable members of society. “

Speaking at a recent conference hosted by CSAN on the poverty crisis, Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster raised concerns about the lack of support in place for struggling families, noting that: “A social safety net that fails to protect essentials such as food and shelter for those who cannot work, is not worthy of being regarded as a safety net at all.”

CSAN is the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. CSAN comprises 41 member charities which work with prisoners, refugees, travellers, children living in poverty, people with disabilities and homeless families.

Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster delivered his address on 13 June 2013 at the CSAN Conference 2013: ‘The Catholic Response to the Poverty Crisis’ . The full text of the address may be read here:

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