PM: Benefit Changes Give People 'New Hope'
The Prime Minister has hit back over criticism of the Government's welfare changes, saying they are part of his "moral mission" for the country.
Mr Cameron's comments come after the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales said the new system had left some people in "hunger and destitution" and labelled the situation "a disgrace".
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister said the Archbishop of Westminster's criticisms were "simply not true".
He said the new system - which includes measures like the so-called "bedroom tax" - still leaves the welfare "safety net" in place.
Mr Cameron added: "Of course, we are in the middle of a long and difficult journey turning our country around.
"That means difficult decisions to get our deficit down, making sure that the debts of this generation are not our children's to inherit.
"But our welfare reforms go beyond that alone - they are about giving new purpose, new opportunity, new hope - and yes, new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance."
The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, said last week that while reforms may be needed they had "unintended consequences", such as families being forced to go to food banks.
He said clergy and charities were reporting a dire situation in some areas.
"My concern," the archbishop told the Telegraph, "is to echo the voices that come to me of the circumstances today in which people are left without support for weeks on end, are hungry, are destitute.
"There must be something wrong with the administration of a system which has that effect on some many people's lives."
Mr Cameron said he respected the archbishop's opinion but disagreed "deeply" with his view of the situation.
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