Bishops slam Government reforms

Seven Bishops from our region have signed a letter condemning the Government for its welfare reform bill.

List of Bishops who signed the letter to Government

The Bishops from our region who signed the letter are:

  • Rt Rev John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds
  • Rt Rev Richard Frith, Bishop of Hull
  • Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford
  • Rt Rev David Rossdale, Bishop of Grimsby
  • Rt Rev Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster
  • Rt Rev Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield
  • Rt Rev James Bell, Bishop of Knaresborough
  • Rt Rev Stephen Platten, Bishop of Wakefield

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Bishop's letter in full

The letter sent to the Government on the new welfare reform bill: they say families "cannot afford a further hardship penalty".

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.

"Retired" Bishop signs letter condeming Government

David Rossdale, Bishop of Grimsby

David Rossdale, Bishop of Grimsby, is among eight Bishops from our region to sign a letter to the Government slamming their welfare reform bill, which will be discussed in Parliament next week.

Despite technically retiring earlier this year, he says he does not officially retire until next month and felt strongly enough about the issue to sign the letter.

Bishops: welfare reform will create poverty

Eight Bishops from our region have signed a letter condemning the Government for its welfare reform bill.

The Bill, to be debated next week, means for the next three years, financial support for families will increase by no more than 1 per cent, regardless of the rise in the cost of living.

Church leaders, including the Bishop of Grimsby David Rossdale, have written to the Government saying the reform will push two thousand children into poverty.