Welfare reform will hit the poorest hardest

Quakers in Britain was one of 20 organisations who signed a letter in The Daily Telegraph today outlining our concerns on welfare reform. Parliament is currently considering the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, which proposes a raft of further cuts to our social security system.

Quakers in Britain urge MPs to carefully consider the impact of this legislation on the most vulnerable individuals and communities. The bill was debated in the House of Commons in July and is now being considered in committee until 15 October.

Our views on welfare reform

Quakers in Britain believe an effective social safety net based on dignity and compassion is a vital foundation of a just society. Framing complex welfare issues in solely economic terms removes the humanity of those affected and ignores the root causes of inequality.


...this Bill will make the lives of already vulnerable households ever more precarious.

- Letter in The Daily Telegraph


Coming on top of the £21 billion of cuts legislated for under the last Parliament, these proposals will increase already unacceptably high levels of poverty and inequality in Britain. They will have a particular effect on children, large families and people who are unable to work because of sickness or disability.

The government has presented the proposed cuts as an exercise in affordability and is also claiming that many of the measures will somehow serve to increase social mobility and tackle the root causes of poverty framing the debate in narrow financial considerations. Quakers in Britain disagrees with both of these suggestions.

Quakers in Britain will be following and seeking to influence this proposed legislation as it progresses through Parliament.

The letter published in The Daily Telegraph

SIR – The extensive cuts being debated by MPs this week as part of the Welfare Reform and Work Bill include restricting child tax credits, removing the work-related activity component of the Employment and Support Allowance and further reducing the benefit cap.

Despite a welcome increase in the minimum wage, it is now widely understood that this Bill will make low-income working families worse off and penalise disabled people who are taking their first steps back to work.

An effective social safety net based on dignity and compassion is vital in any just society, yet this Bill will make the lives of already vulnerable households ever more precarious.

Paul Parker
Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
Niall Cooper
Director, Church Action on Poverty
Cathy Ashley
Chief Executive, Family Rights Group
Dave Prentis
General Secretary, Unison
Jonathan Arkush
President, Board of Deputies of British Jews
Amanda Batten
Chief Executive, Contact a Family
Megan Dunn
President, National Union of Students
John Ellis
Moderator, General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Duncan Exley
Director, The Equality Trust
Lt-Col Melvin Fincham
Secretary for Communications, The Salvation Army
Sally Foster-Fulton
Convener, Church and Society Council, Church of Scotland
Alison Garnham
Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group
Rev Steven Keyworth
Team Leader of Faith and Society, Baptist Church
Derek McAuley
Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
Judith Moran
Director, Quaker Social Action
Helen O'Brien
Chief Executive, CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network)
Mohammad Shahid Raza
Founder Trustee, British Muslim Forum, and Head Imam, Leicester Central Mosque
Chaya Spitz
Chief Executive, The Interlink Foundation
The Rt Rev David Walker
Bishop of Manchester
The Rev Steven Wild
President, Methodist Conference

Read the letter in The Daily Telegraph