Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Bishop of St Albans Reverend Alan Smith's concern at Government plans to cap family benefits
The Bishop of the diocese of St Albans, which covers the Watford area, has joined forces with a children’s charity in an attempt to stop politicians passing a bill that will limit the rise of benefits available to families.
The Right Reverend Alan Smith is one of 43 bishops to sign a letter asking Parliament to support amendments to the Welfare Benefit Uprating Bill put forward by the Children’s Society.
The charity is suggesting that support paid for children should be removed from the bill, which will limit the amount that benefits can be risen by 1% each year.
Bishop Smith said: "We all realise that as a nation we are facing hard choices and that we cannot go on increasing public spending.
"However, we need urgently a public debate about where the cuts should fall.
"At a time when the government, for example, is planning to spend billions of pounds renewing the Trident Nuclear Weapons System it seems extraordinary that cuts are being planned which are likely to push another 200,000 children into poverty.
"Surely this cannot be the right way forward."
The charity estimates that the limit will push 200,000 children into poverty.
The issue will be debated in the House of Lords on March 19.
Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: "Millions of struggling families now face the double blow of rising costs and cuts to support.
"If this bill is passed as it stands, it will make life so much harder for 11.5 million children and their families.
"This hardship penalty punishes families from all walks of life, whether they are working or looking for work.
"But the poorest children will take the biggest hit. This is unjustifiable. The government must not balance the books on the backs of children."