Poverty experts and churches urge government to close wealth gap

By agency reporter
February 20, 2010

Twenty-six leading poverty experts, including many church leaders, have challenged the Chancellor and Opposition finance ministers to seize a once-in-a-generation opportunity to close the gap between rich and poor.

In a week that has seen inflation spike, unemployment rise and public sector finances deteriorate further, poverty experts from the Get Fair coalition are calling for political consensus to build a credible plan for a lasting reduction in poverty in the UK.

Earlier this week, leading economists called for a “credible plan” to eliminate the structural current budget deficit within five years. To be credible, they said the process “should be mindful of its impact on society’s more vulnerable groups”. Poverty experts yesterday added their call for a rigorous ‘poverty-impact’ review of the political parties’ rescue plans for the economy. The Get Fair coalition stated:

“This is a time of unprecedented challenges in public expenditure and political leadership. In building a new economy out of the old, it remains imperative to address structural weaknesses that led to one in five living in poverty during the last decade of relative prosperity.”

Niall Cooper of Church Action on Poverty added: “Many of our politicians are threatening to make cuts that will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable people in our society. It’s vital that churches and individual Christians stand in solidarity with those in poverty, and demand that any rescue plan for our economy take their needs into account.”

The letter is signed by numerous Christian groups, including Church Action on Poverty, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, Housing Justice, Zacchaeus 2000 Trust, the Iona Community, the Manna Society and the Salvation Army.

The Get Fair coalition represents over 60 national organisations campaigning against poverty in the United Kingdom, including children’s and older people’s organisations, and refugee, disability, housing, faith and community groups.

Ekklesia is one of the supporters of the Get Fair initiative.


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