Bishop says he will always defend the poorest in society

Jonathan Clark, the Bishop of Croydon, says that the government is “placing an additional and unfair burden on the poorest members of our society”.

Bishop Clark: attack on benefits is an attack on basic

Bishop Clark: attack on benefits is an attack on basic necessities

In an interview to be aired on local radio this weekend, Bishop Clark explains why he was among the signatories to an open letter criticising government policy.

“Concern for the poor is absolutely at the heart of what the church needs to be there for, because we need to speak up for those who have no other voice and that is what I was trying to do,” he said.

The Bishop of Croydon was among more than 40 senior churchmen, including the new Archbishop of Canterbury, to write an open letter last week protesting at the government’s proposed welfare changes.

While recognising that the government faces difficult decisions, Bishop Clarke says that the decision on capping benefits is wrong. Bishop Clarke gives a clear explanation of his belief that the government has acted in error with the 1 per cent benefit cap.

The bishop said, “Benefits aren’t like wages. Benefits are already calculated to provide the basic necessities. If you don’t upgrade benefits by inflation, then you are denying people basic necessities.”

In the interview, Bishop Clark also reflects on social division in his wide-ranging episcopal area that runs as far south as Gatwick Airport, and about the relevance of the Easter story in a post-riots Croydon.

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