Bishop Toby Howarth has spoken out following the latest benefits cap reduction. Speaking to the Bradford Telegraph and Argus newspaper he says he fears the latest cuts could lead to homelessness and child poverty and place the church under increasing strain as it tries to help families hit by the cuts.
It is estimated that the latest cuts will affect around 1,000 Bradford families.
In the front page article, the Bishop of Bradford says, “I know there are those who have said that even this cut isn’t enough, but I think the people who are saying that need to actually see the real impact on families.
“It’s all very well to say that this is the equivalent of a £25,000 salary, but actually, if you break that down in terms of what it is going on, and look at the families concerned and how it is going to affect them, this information needs to go into the political debate.”
He also speaks about the impact it will have on churches which are already working hard to help struggling families. He told the newspaper that the church’s support networks were deeply committed to helping those in need but were “feeling very stretched” as they picked up more and more work once undertaken by local authorities.
Bishop Toby added, “We are finding it tough and we will find it tougher.”
Benefits have been cut to a maximum of £20,000 for couples and families and £13,400 for single people as part of a Government drive to make work pay.
The paper also talks to the church charity, Wellsprings Together Bradford, a partnership between the Diocese of Leeds and the Church Urban Fund.
Development worker, Liz Firth, is quoted saying she fears families could be evicted because they don’t have enough money.
She tells the paper, “In our experience of meeting with local families many are simply trying to do their best for their children and would prefer to be in work and not on benefits.”