Open Letter to Damian Green on welfare reform
This Open Letter to Damian Green, the UK Government's Secretary of State for Work and Pensions sets out in detail the concerns of Ekklesia and the Centre for Welfare Reform about the system of social security in the UK, which was established to ensure that no citizen, whatever their circumstances or disadvantages, would fall into such poverty that they were unable to afford the basic essentials of life – food, clothing, fuel and shelter.
The Directors of the two think-tanks say:
"We are deeply concerned that the system now increasingly fails to provide that basic security for some of our most disadvantaged citizens, while some policies have the effect of keeping people in a constant state of deprivation, anxiety and stress."
The letter sets out concerns, facts and questions evidenced by numerous high-level reports and detailed research. It tackles the two-child limit on Universal Credit and tax credits, Employment and Support Allowance and the Work Capability Assessment, the DWP's problematic approach to poverty, benefits sanctions, Personal Independence Payments, the loss of the Independent Living Fund in England, and severe concerns referenced by both the United Nations and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Citing the Green Paper, ‘Improving lives: work, health and disability’, the letter says that:
"while so many people live in poverty, lacking the support they need to lead independent lives, those fundamental problems need to be addressed as a priority before real progress can be made in other areas."
In conclusion, the two think tanks call for:
"a substantial rethink, which we are more than willing to contribute to."
Read the letter (pdf) in full here.