Saturday, June 30, 2012

Church hits out at proposed welfare cuts, the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, has come out in opposition to the Prime Minister's plans to introduce more cuts to child and housing benefits.

David Cameron announced on Monday that housing benefit would no longer be available for under-25s, while child benefit payments would be limited to families with no more than three children.

CSAN said it was "extremely concerned" by the proposals and their impact on families already affected by a cap on the size of their homes and an overall benefit cap.

“Child benefit exists to provide for the basic needs of children; imposing limitations on the basis of family size will inevitably deprive children from larger families of essential support," it said.

"It is important for the focus to remain on supporting children’s health, nutrition and other fundamental requirements, rather than setting arbitrary limits which will not only penalise people for having children, but also disproportionately impact upon parents of larger families who have fallen into difficult financial circumstances.”

Currently those out of work or on a low income are entitled to housing benefit, at a capped amount. 

Recent changes have already tightened this weekly allowance, and this proposal goes a step further removing Housing Benefit completely for those who are under 25.

A spokesperson for Depaul UK, the largest national youth homelessness charity added: “80,000 young people become homeless every year. The majority of these become homeless because of family breakdown. For these young people leaving home is not a financial choice, made easier by the availability of housing benefit. It is a matter of safety, and the safety net of housing benefit enables society to ensure that the most vulnerable are protected.”

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