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
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