Churches demand Government apology for 'misrepresenting poor'

(PA)Church leaders previously told the Government to speak about the most vulnerable "with respect"

Christian leaders have criticised the Minister for Welfare Reform for failing to apologise on behalf of the Government for "misrepresenting the poor".

The call to Lord Freud comes from 12 leaders representing Churches in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

"We do not wish to live in a society where personal responsibility is demanded of the vulnerable but is not required of those who exercise power," they write in a joint letter.

"All people are valued creations of God who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. An essential component of this is to be spoken of truthfully, including benefit claimants."

The criticism follows a previous letter from the Church leaders in June expressing concern over Government rhetoric towards the poor.

The letter was written after a sweep of controversial benefit cuts came into place in April.

In the letter, they accused the Government of using demonstrably untrue statements that stigmitised the most vulnerable in society.

In their latest letter, they express disappointment that the response from Lord Freud "neither attempts to answer nor even mentions any of the points raised".

The Churches represented by the letters include the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland and the Baptist Union of Great Britain.