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UK Politics

Archbishop renews attack on government's 'disgraceful' welfare policies


One of Britain's most senior Catholics has renewed his attack on the government's welfare policies when he said taxes are driving single-income families into poverty.

Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster who is to be appointed a cardinal later this week, accused the Coalition of promulgating a tax system that keeps people below the breadline.

Having branded welfare reforms “a disgrace” last week, he issued a further venomous challenge to the government when he castigated its tax regime.

“There are people… with one person in a family working, paying what they consider to be an inordinate burden of tax so that that keeps them in poverty,” he said on BBC Radio 4.

Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation recently found that there are 400,000 families in the UK living below the breadline where one parent stays at home. A further 210,000 dual-income families and 105,000 single parent families live below the breadline.

The Most Rev Nichols, the leader of Catholics in England and Wales, added that in a country as wealthy as the UK there must be something “seriously wrong” when people are left destitute and dependent on food banks.

“Priests of mine tell me that every now and then they put some food in front of a woman and she bursts out crying, she hasn't eaten in three days. Now, it is stories like that that are part of the reality of this country today,” he said.