General Synod to debate Bradford's Bedroom Tax challenge

BedroomsGeneral Synod meeting in London on November 17th and 18th will be asked to support calls from churches in the Bradford area for the Church of England to investigate the effects of  the Spare Room Subsidy or ‘Bedroom tax’ which they say is ‘ineffective and unjust’.

The motion calling on General Synod to evaluate research into the Bedroom Tax will be proposed by Ian Fletcher, a member of the General Synod House of Laity and of the former Bradford Diocesan Synod which originally put forward the motion.  He said, “The motion reflects a real concern from those working among the poor and marginalised in Bradford but has national significance.  We want the evidence for and against the Bedroom Tax to be on the table in discussions with policy makers, so the debate can move from the emotional to the factual level, challenging HMG with the findings that their policy is not working even on their own terms and is causing significant hardship without concomitant benefits to anyone.”

A background paper (GS 1965A) from the diocese explains why General Synod members are being asked to support the Bradford motion. “As well as being ineffective, we perceive both the principle behind the policy and the consequences of its implementation to be unjust….  Our position is that, in the principle of the tax we see a deep unfairness and almost a cultural disregard for the lives of the poor and a devaluing of commitment to place and community which are so important to the Common Good and have always been a core consideration of the Church of England.”

“In its implementation it is ineffective and unjust and the impact is leading to increased debt with significant negative effects on mental health. Sitting alongside the uncoupling of identified need from level of support, as executed by the Benefit Cap, the chaos of target driven Work Capability Assessments and seemingly target driven punitive sanctions on unemployed claimants (4 weeks of no benefits as a minimum), it also appears to completely undermine the concept of a ‘Big Society’.”

The motion is due to be debated on the afternoon of Tuesday November 18th, the second day of the two day session which is expected, on Monday November 17th to  enact an amendment  which will be the final step to allow women to be made bishops.

For more details please refer to the Church of England website here: https://churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/general-synod/agendas-and-papers/november-2014-group-of-sessions.aspx

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