Is the Bishop of Truro right. Are government cuts having 'sinful consequences'?

Is the Bishop of Truro right. Are government cuts having 'sinful consequences'?

Is the Bishop of Truro right. Are government cuts having 'sinful consequences'?

First published in News

The Bishop of Truro has said that cuts in council spending are having "sinful consequences", with policies causing harm to people.

Right Reverend Tim Thornton, who is currently co-chairing an all-party parliamentary inquiry into food poverty, acknowledged that financial pressures are leading to "some very difficult decisions".

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics, Bishop Thornton said: "Some policies that then do harm to people by perhaps focusing on resources in one place and not another can have sinful consequences and elements in them.

"Part of what I see happening down here in Cornwall is that some of the pressures that some of the local authorities are being put under lead to some very difficult decisions about where resources are allocated.

"I am not saying that it is a sin. I am saying that some of these policies have sinful consequences with sinful elements in them."

A soaring number of people are being forced into asking for emergency supplies from foodbanks across the UK, including those run by the Trussell Trust.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty will report back in December in the hope of influencing party manifestos in the run-up to the 2015 general election.

Foodbanks have become a highly politicised issue with the coalition's welfare reforms blamed by critics for causing the spike in numbers and suggestions by some on the right that the increase in use is down to an increase in availability.

In February David Cameron was slammed by 25 Anglican bishops, including the Bishop of Truro Tim Thornton, 14 Methodist districts chairs and two Quakers for creating a situation where hundreds of thousands of people visited food banks since Easter last year.

Saying "cutbacks to and failures in the benefit system" were forcing people into destitution, they add that over half of people using food banks are in that situation due to failures in the benefit system, "whether it be payment delays or punitive sanctions".

The open letter to Mr Cameron follows the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Vincent Nichols describing government's welfare reforms as a disgrace.

Expressing astonishment that people in the world's seventh richest country are going hungry, they add that thousands have been admitted to hospital suffering from malnutrition and say that 20 per cent of mothers are "skipping meals to better feed their children".

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