'A disgrace': Britain's Catholic leader Vincent Nichols attacks Coalition's welfare reforms
Friday 14 February 2014
The leading Roman Catholic cleric in England and Wales has branded the Coalition's welfare reforms as a “disgrace” which leave vulnerable people facing “hunger and destitution”.
Cardinal-designate Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, said the Government had decimated even the most “basic safety net” for those threatened by poverty.
The leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales also said that the welfare system had become more “punitive”, leaving people with nothing if they fail to fill in forms correctly.
In an interview with the Telegraph, the Archbishop said: “People do understand that we do need to tighten our belts and be much more responsible and careful in public expenditure.
”But I think what is happening is two things: one is that the basic safety net that was there to guarantee that people would not be left in hunger or in destitution has actually been torn apart.
“It no longer exists and that is a real, real dramatic crisis.
”And the second is that, in this context, the administration of social assistance, I am told, has become more and more punitive.
“So if applicants don't get it right then they have to wait for 10 days, for two weeks with nothing - with nothing.
”For a country of our affluence, that quite frankly is a disgrace.“
The Archbishop's criticisms come after Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, a practising Catholic, hit out at the Church of England for savaging aspects of his reforms last year.
Mr Duncan Smith accused top Anglican clergymen, including the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, of ignoring the concerns of ordinary people after they signed a letter claiming that capping benefit rises would have a ”deeply disproportionate“ effect on children.
He said the system was ”out of control“ and simply ”giving more and more money“ would not help.
”There is nothing moral or fair about a system that I inherited that trapped people in welfare dependency,“ he added.
Cardinal-designate Nichols is one of 19 senior clerics chosen by Pope Francis to be elevated to the Roman Catholic clergy's second highest rank.
It means he will be granted a place at the conclave which will elect the next pope.
The Archbishop is one of only two Europeans on a list of clergymen to be made Cardinals next week, aside from those already holding senior offices at the Holy See, with the rest hailing from the developing world.
Since his election as pope in March last year Francis has cultivated a radical image, challenging politicians over their treatment of immigrants and adopting a more tolerant stance towards homosexuality.
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis 'throw man off a building for homosexual affair' and beat him to death when he survives
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...