Open letter: why the welfare cap is wrong

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Last week a range of NGOs, advocacy groups, disability rights campaigners and others (including the Christian political think-tank Ekklesia) signed an open letter promoted by Rick Burgess (Caledfwlch, WOW Petition), John McArdle for Black Triangle and John McInally of the PCS union.

It was hoped that The Guardian would publish it. In the end, they did not. But we believe it to be an important statement of principle which deserves wide circulation - and once again it will be through the digit and social media that the message gets out when 'mainstream' media falls short.

The letter reads as follows:

The welfare state was founded on the principle of "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need". The way to reduce welfare costs is to reduce need.

That means an employment strategy that creates well paid jobs, clamping down on low pay by making the living wage the legal minimum, and restoring trade union rights so workers can improve their jobs and pay.

Instead, under these proposals, we will see further attacks on the welfare of disabled people, the unemployed and poorer pensioners.

Labour said it supports the cap because it can reduce welfare spending fairly. But if so it can do that without supporting the cap. And if a Conservative-led government stays in power it will definitely mean more brutal cuts.

The truth is that the UK spends less on social security than average – less than France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway. With half a million people using food banks, poverty up by over a million and homelessness rising too under this coalition, it is clear the last thing anyone should have done is support a welfare cap.

George Osborne went to the European Court to stop bankers bonuses being capped, it is a shame that only backbenchers like John McDonnell seem willing to stand up for the rest of us.

Initially signed by:

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary

John McArdle, Black Triangle Campaign

Linda Burnip & Debbie Jolly, co-founders Disabled People Against Cuts

Francesca Martinez, Actor, Comedian & Writer, co-founder WoWpetition

Rick Burgess, Caledfwlch, co-founder WoWpetition & Bangor People's Assembly

Jane Bence

Wayne Blackburn, East Lancashire People's Assembly

Pat Onions, Pat's Petition

Frances Kelly, CarerWatch

Rosemary O'Neill, Carerwatch

Denise McKenna, Mental Health Resistance Network

Robin Horsell, Mental Health Resistance Network

Dr Simon Duffy, Centre for Welfare Reform

Alison Playford, Occupy and 10,000 Cuts & Counting

Jim Elder-Woodward OBE, chair of the UK Co-ordinating Committee of the Campaign for a Fair Society

Simon Barrow, Director, Ekklesia

Ian Macrae, Editor, Disability Now

Colin Hampton, National Unemployed Centres Combine

Liz Crow, Roaring Girl Productions

Dawn Willis

Ellen Clifford, Disabled People Against Cuts

Jessica Mccarnun, Stephen Lathwell, WeWillBeHeard.org

Ian Jones, co-founder WoWpetition

Michelle Maher, Laura Stringhetti, WoWpetition

Guy Thornton, NUJ Disabled Members Council

Christopher John Ball, Writer/Photographer DPAC

Susan Archibald, Disability Rights Campaigner

The Atos Stories Collective

Patricia Walker, WoWpetition & online activist

Eleanor Lisney, Sisters of Frida

Kate Belgrave, Journalist

Sam Downie, disabled Journalist \ ITV Studios \ BBC \ Dsoundz Media llc

Ann Galpin, Journalist & equality campaigner

Darren Williams, acting PCS Wales Secretary & Cardiff Labour councillor (personal capacity)

Sarah Spellman, activist

Henry Tam, Question the Powerful

Linda Rogers, NUT Equality Officer, Chair Bangor People's Assembly

Philip Steele, Author, Bangor & Ynys Mon Peace & Justice

Ann Robinson, Save Lifeworks Cambridge

Janine Booth, RMT, TUC Disabled Workers' Committee

Bob Ellard, Disability Researcher

Jan Underwood, UCU Bangor

Andy Greene, Islington DPAC

Anita Bellows, Disability Researcher

Anne Ross, MS Campaigner

Jannie Brightman, Unite Community member & Traveller Solidarity Network

Michelle Kent, Unite Community Cornwall

June Dickson, Black Triangle

Pete Ramand, Radical Independence Campaign

Bill Scott, Inclusion Scotland

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work

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