Church Leader Urges MPs to Remember Principles Behind Benefits Debate

A senior Church of Scotland minister has written to every Scottish MP at Westminster ahead of a housing benefits debate urging them to take in to consideration the principles he believes is crucial to the debate.

Rev Ian Galloway, Convener of the Kirk’s Church and Society Council, argues welfare benefits are intended to alleviate poverty, and is concerned about the apparent stigmatisation of those in receipt of benefits that is emerging through a political discourse that associates error and fraud in immediate proximity to each other.

Writing in his blog Mr Galloway said: “A mark of any society is how it cares for the vulnerable. It is not possible for any society to guarantee equality of outcomes for all it is however, possible to achieve equality of opportunities.”

Mr Galloway claims that any proposals for welfare reform which puts barriers upon the ability of individuals and families to survive with dignity when they are in a vulnerable position undermines us as a society.

Rev Galloway is also critical of the apparent stigmatisation of those on benefits which associates error with fraud.

He said: “I am concerned that this is being done deliberately and that the incidence of what is extreme cases being used as a cover for reforms that harms those in need whose care is our moral duty as a society.”

Ends

Notes to News Desk/Reporters: For an interview with Rev Galloway, telephone Nick Jury, Senior Media Relations Officer, Communications Department, Church of Scotland on 0131 240 2268 or email njury@cofscotland.org.uk

Mr Galloway’s blog can be seen at http://churchsociety.blogspot.com/2010/11/debate-about-housing-benefits.html

NR/72/11/10

Monday 8th November 2010

Contact: Nick Jury
Phone: 0131 240 2268
Email: njury@cofscotland.org.uk
Website: http://www.cofscotland.org.uk