George Osborne

George Osborne delivering his budget 2015 speech in Parliament on Wednesday

A group of 27 rabbis signed a powerful letter urging George Osborne to reconsider benefit cuts ahead of the Budget. Ahead of yesterday’s summer budget, the rabbis wrote to the Chancellor urging him to reconsider his welfare cuts.

In the letter, the rabbis spoke of their great concern that people who are not being supported financially are being blamed by the government, rather than helped.

“Coming from a tradition that teaches that it is our duty to give to the poor sufficient for their needs, and a biblical system of supporting the most vulnerable in society, we are rooted in the ideal and legal-ethical code that speaks of obligation to care for the poor and to help them climb out of poverty,” the letter said.

“It concerns us greatly therefore,” they wrote, “that increasingly we meet people who are not being supported in economic security, and that the rhetoric blaming those who are dependent on welfare benefits is overpowering the reality that our fellow human beings are falling into deep and irredeemable poverty.

“We are seeing an increasingly wide gulf between the poorest and everyone else, a polarisation in our society that is damaging for every one of us.”

The letter was signed by senior figures, including Rabbis Jackie Tabick and Jeremy Gordon, and ended with a powerful plea to Osborne, urging him to reconsider the expected benefit cuts to give people back “our human dignity”.