Welby warning over 'scrounger' label for benefit claimants

The Archbishop of Canterbury has raised concerns that people on benefits are being categorised. Credit: John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned there is a danger all people on benefits are being categorised as scroungers and questioned a minister's suggestions that people were using food banks simply because they were there.

The Most Rev Justin Welby insisted it was important not to use "derogatory language" after bishops raised concerns yesterday that presenting poverty and unemployment as a question of "scroungers versus strivers" was an insult.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I can't equate any minister as having done so but I think there is a danger from time to time that people are categorised, that all people on benefit are seen as scroungers and that's clearly completely untrue."

The Archbishop questioned where Lord Freud "got his information from" on food bank use after the welfare reform minister was reported last week as saying: "It is difficult to know which came first - supply or demand."