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Letter to Observer: "Our organisations see the reality"

10 Dec 2012

CAS CEO Margaret Lynch has joined 45 other organisations in a letter to the Observer newspaper (9 December) on the impact of the government's autumn budget statement.

Following on from the letter to the Independent, before the autumn statement, this letter again brings together representatives of charities, churches, trade unions as well as NGOs specifically on the issue of capping benefits.

The full letter reads:

‘Last week's autumn statement marks a watershed in our welfare system, breaking the long-standing link between benefits and either earnings or prices. The policies announced are a bitter blow for hundreds of thousands of low-income families struggling to make ends meet in the face of overwhelming austerity.

Economic analysis of the government's announcements shows clearly that the poorest have been hit hardest. Plans to cap increases in benefits and tax credits at a meagre one per cent for the next three years will far outweigh any gains from increasing the personal tax allowance. This will hurt children, leaving a damaging legacy.

While the chancellor paints a picture of so-called "strivers" and "skivers", our organisations see the reality: families scraping by in low-paid work, or being bounced from insecure jobs to benefits and back again.

The truth is that the vast majority of those who rely on benefits and tax credits are either in work, have worked, or will be in work in the near future. They and their families are making their contribution to society and are entitled to genuine security, as Beveridge intended.

As we mark the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report, which laid the foundations of the welfare state, we risk losing the very safety net that he intended. It is a punitive, unfair policy and must not happen.’

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