Osborne not offering economic solutions for the vulnerable

By staff writers
4 Aug 2011

Chancellor George Osborne's economic policies got a decidedly mute response in terms of their impact on the poorest at an event in Edinburgh yesterday.

Speaking at the preview for the Festival of Spirituality and Peace at St John's Episcopal Church in Scotland's capital, Richard Lo from the Caledonian Land Trust said that a pragmatic response to addressing issues of homelessness and exclusion was needed.

Nevertheless, he issued a sideways challenge to government financial priorities by asking the more than 60 people present at the press preview if anyone who though the Chancellor's policies were benefitting the poorest would put their hand up. No-one did.

The Spirituality and Peace Festival, which will feature some 300 performances across 200 events includes an eclectic mix of art, culture, inter-faith encounter, workshops, family activity and conversations and discussions about topical issues around the core theme, 'Faith, Hope and Reality'.

It also involves partners involved in pioneering social action and enterprise initiatives.

Introducing the Caledonian Foundation's contribution, Richard Lo said that the reality for thousands of people in Scotland was that the current system of housing provision is not working.

The way the housing market is shaped primarily by profits means that low or even middle income individuals and families are struggling to get a foothold on the property ladder, he explained.

The Caledonian Foundation is therefore putting forward a unique, new approach to home ownership based on micro-equity.

This combines the best aspects of the 'shared equity' and 'shared ownership' models, removing the burden of debt and creating a structure to allow people to gradually build ownership in a house by buying shares in its equity at a rate they can afford.

This approach drastically reduces the level of financial commitment usually required by home ownership, as well as the risks involved.

* Caledonian Foundation: http://www.caledonianfoundation.org

The full Festival programme is at: http://www.festivalofspirituality.org.uk/

* Spirituality Peace and News: http://festivalofspirituality.blogspot.com/

* More on FoSP from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/festivalofspirituality

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