IDS on warpath after Archbishop attacks 'immoral' welfare reforms
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Universal Credit
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Iain Duncan Smith has hit back after his welfare reform plans were attacked as "immoral" by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Archbishop spoke out in response to an open letter sent by 43 bishops to The Sunday Telegraph which condemned the government's plans to cut benefits.
The letter focuses on the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill, due to be debated in the House of Lords this week, which, if passed, will see benefits capped at one percent over the next three years regardless of inflation.
The Archbishop Justin Welby has now joined in the attack on the government's plans, saying that society has a duty to support the "vulnerable and in need".
However, works and pensions secretary IDS has angrily defended the plans. He told ITV news: "This is about fairness. People who are paying taxes, working very hard, have hardly seen any increases in their salary and yet, under the last government, the welfare bill rose by some 60 percent to £200 billion. That means they have to pay for that under their taxes, which is simply not fair.
"That same system trapped huge numbers, millions, in dependency, dependent on the state, unable, unwilling to work.
"What is either moral or fair about that? That's my challenge over to the bishop."
The letter has also received the support of the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.
Archbishop Welby said in a statement: "Politicians have a clear choice. By protecting children from the effects of this bill, they can help fulfil their commitment to end child poverty.
"When times are hard, that duty should be felt more than ever, not disappear or diminish.
"These changes will mean it is children and families who will pay the price for high inflation, rather than the government."
The archbishop argued that the Coalition's proposals would remove the protection given to families against the rising cost of living and could push 200,000 children into poverty.
IDS responded: "There is nothing moral or fair about a system that I inherited that trapped people in welfare dependency, some one in every five households has no work, that's not the way to end child poverty.
"Getting people back to work is the way to end child poverty. That's the moral and fair way to do it."