Bishop calls for election which protects the vulnerable

By staff writers
April 6, 2010

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds has called for policies from the parties contesting the general election, which promote fairness and support for those most in need.

The Rt Rev John Packer says that the "burden of cuts" must fall on those with adequate resources and not on those struggling with debt or unemployment.

It comes as ethics look set to play a central part in the election off the back of the scandal over MP's expenses, and slogans from the main parties which address 'fairness'.

Bishop Packer also says he will be scouring the election literature for what he calls "signs of hope" – including the safe-guarding of foreign aid and a welcoming society which treats asylum seekers with respect and humanity.

On taxing and cuts, Bishop Packer says, “I shall be searching for signs of a concern for those in most need in our society. So in dealing with national debt, I shall want the burden of cuts to fall on those of us with adequate resources, and not those who have inadequate housing, who are unemployed or who struggle with debt. They need protection.”

On Foreign Aid and the Environment, Bishop Packer says, “I shall be looking for safe-guarding of foreign aid as we share our relative prosperity with countries facing famine or experiencing earthquakes. I shall be watching for a commitment to green policies to protect the environment."

On asylum seekers, Bishop Packer, who has spoken frequently on the subject in the House of Lords, says, “We need evidence that we are a welcoming society, and I hope candidates will adopt the 'Sanctuary Pledge' which affirms our desire to help those driven out of their own countries by fear.”

Bishop John Packer recently signed a joint statement with other church leaders across West Yorkshire, calling on politicians, in the run up to a General Election, to pursue policies which will lead to greater respect for people of all backgrounds and to a reduction in the gap between rich and poor.

The joint statement, “Every Person Matters”, warned that growing inequality was having a detrimental effect on society in Yorkshire.

It stated, “The wide gap between the richest and poorest people brings mental and physical illness, rising crime and fear of crime, and lowers educational results. An unsustainable divide between levels of wealth and poverty leads to disrespect for other people and a strain on family life and social order.”


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