Bishop speaks out against limiting benefit claims

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, gestures, as he delivers his first spring statement in the House of Commons

A mixed reaction to chancellor’s spring statement

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THE Bishop of Portsmouth criticised plans to curb benefits for women fleeing abuse.

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster was speaking in the House of Lords as peers debated welfare reform. The government last night ultimately lost a bid to slash disabled people’s benefits by £1,500.

But the bishop criticised the Welfare Reform and Work Bill and said exemptions should be made. He said: ‘The threat and danger of domestic violence is not chosen or sought. To penalise children taken out of a dangerous situation cannot be right.’

He also said he feared the bill could discourage marriage.