Balancing the budget on the backs of the poor

The leadership of the United Kingdom has decided to deal with its economic woes by enacting a series of substantial budgetary cuts in an effort to restart its economy by slowing the government’s deficit spending. The Archbishop of Canterbury is warning the nation, and specifically the Prime Minister that balancing the budget by reducing services to the needy is “not fair” and probably (to use an American expression) half-cocked.

“Last Friday, Dr Williams warned against cuts to rural mental-health services. At ‘Faith and the Future of the Countryside’, a conference held in Swanwick to mark the 20th anniversary of the report Faith in the Countryside, Dr Williams said that conversations he had had in Westminster last week ‘suggested that a number of people driving the Big Society have not really thought through what the implication might be for the rural setting’.

The Bishop of St Albans, Dr Alan Smith, warned that the halving of capital investment in affordable homes ‘could have a serious impact on the 474,970 households in rural England on local-authority waiting lists’. ‘At the proposed new rate of building of an average of 37,500 new affordable homes in England, to cover both rural and urban areas, rural households are unlikely to be housed in the next quarter of a century.’

The conference proposed that ‘affordable rural housing schemes. . . proceed where needed on the basis of a parish plan and not re quire complex and expensive refer enda . . . requiring a majority of 75 per cent of voters’, a Church House statement said on Tuesday.

The Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Price, speaking in the House of Lords last week, said that plans ‘to end the ‘council house for life’ will be a real problem in rural areas, where there is simply not the flexibility and availability of housing for people to move on in a way that they can in urban areas’.”

These religious voices in British society are joining a few government ones as well in warning that these cuts will likely have unexpected consequences.

More here in the Church Times.

Past Posts