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Friday, 1 October 2010
Welfare Reform should mean Support with Dignity
I truly welcome the fact that the Kirk has been invited to respond to the consultation on 21st Century Welfare issued by the Coalition Government. With a church in every community, the Kirk has been at the centre of community involvement, getting the views of people living in poverty throughout Scotland. Through the work of Scotland’s Poverty Truth Commission, we have had direct access to hear and learn from those that are struggling with poverty. This has informed our views on the need to get the involvement of those struggling with the issues on a daily basis, on any kind of measures directed towards helping them out of poverty. ‘Nothing about Us without Us is for Us.’
The Coalition Government proposes to simplify the benefits system. Aye to that. It also proposes to encourage people to move from the benefits system into paid employment. The welfare system is in place to help those in need. It is a resource that we all contribute into in order to provide help and support to the most vulnerable amongst us. Much has been said about the culture of dependence and the lifestyle choices of welfare recipients. In our experience, nearly all people that are able to work, want to and do so if work is available. There are many ways to contribute into society apart from paid employment. No one can dispute the valuable contribution done by thousands of people caring for children, or tending for a disabled relative; these unpaid contributions, amount to significant savings to the public purse.