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Strivers v scroungers 'ignores the facts' - Bishop
A BISHOP has criticised Government use of the term ‘benefit scroungers’, saying such labelling ignores the facts.
The Right Reverend Mark Bryant, the Bishop of Jarrow, said many benefit claimants also worked and some foodbanks were busiest when people visited on their way home from work.
In a forthright Christmas message, he said: “There have been those this year who have seemed to want us to harden our hearts with their talk of benefit scroungers – ignoring the fact that very many people on benefits are in work and some foodbanks report that sometimes their busiest time of the day is when people are going home from work.”
Bishop Bryant, who is standing in until the new Bishop of Durham arrives early next year, is following in the footsteps of the Most Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who criticised Conservative ministers for dividing the nation into “strivers” and “scroungers”.
Bishop Bryant questioned whether 2013 would be remembered as the year the UK discovered foodbanks, but he said there was hope in the “extraordinary generosity of so many”.
He praised the Nightstop homelessness project and continued: “The Christmas story is a story about a God who does not abandon us whatever the mess and that sense that we are not alone is a reason to have hope.
“What gives people hope is knowing that they have not been abandoned and that they are not alone.”
Bishop Bryant will be tweeting his Christmas sermons, at twitter.com/BishopMark1 using the hashtag #CSWCDD.
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