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Saturday
Oct122013

Restoring Faith in the Safety Net In a world of growing insecurity, a compassionate society is one which provides a bedrock of social security: the security of knowing that becoming sick, disabled or unemployed, or suffering a financial shock or crisis (be it a bereavement or a broken cooker), will not leave anyone penniless, hungry or at risk of destitution.

For those in the UK who find themselves unemployed or unable to work – whether through sickness, disability, caring responsibilities or insecure work – the social security system is designed to provide a safety net; an essential guarantee of a minimum income, enabling people to live free from fear of destitution or the stigma of poverty.

But - like many others in the churches - we are hearing more & more stories of real hardship caused by failures in the benefits system, often leaving people penniless and hungry. There is an increasing number of holes in the safety net – undue delays, errors, or excessive sanctions, many of which are leaving large numbers of people without income for days, weeks or even months at a time. Too many people, including children, are being left at risk of hunger or destitution as a result. 

Restoring Faith in the Safety Net, a new report published by Church Action on Poverty, explains the many holes that have appeared in our safety net. It restates why that safety net is so crucial to a civilised society, and why Christians should stand up in its defence.

As the new Government plans a further £12 billion of benefit cuts & the roll-out of the new Universal Credit, it is  essential that people are able to rely on receiving the money due to them, and are not put at risk of destitution by being left without any income for extended periods – especially where it is for reasons beyond their control. 

A new chair has just been elected to the House of Commons Work & Pensions Select Committee. We have an opportunity to make sure one of the Committee's first acts is to launch an urgent inquiry into tackling the holes in the safety net - so we need as many MPs as possible to talk to the chair about this soon.
Use our e-action now - ask your MP to call for action from the Select Committee to repair our safety net!

www. church-poverty.org.uk

An F&J booklet with information about welfare benefit changes, concerns raised by the changes, what help is available and what it has to do with our parish communities. It also has contact information for advice and support in Cumbria. Information is being collated for the southern part of the diocese.

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