UK Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement has not gone far enough to ease the burden on the poorest and most vulnerable in society, a leading Church of Scotland minister says.
The Rev Ian Galloway, convener of the Kirk’s Church and Society Council, said: “The paramount responsibility of any government is to help and protect the most vulnerable in society. I believe that the economy is there to serve society, and not the other way round."
He continued: "The Church of Scotland has long argued that dependency is not a sin for which sanctions are necessary in order to make people cast it aside. Dependency is a fact of life. In failing to make tackling poverty a priority, Mr Osborne has not gone far enough in my opinion. We need to stress the importance of helping those in greatest need.”
The (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland is currently awaiting the report of a Special Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity.
The Commission, which has spent two years consulting widely and exploring the fundamental ethical and moral questions underlying economic activity, is due to report to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in May 2012.
Professor Charles Munn, former Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, and chair of the Commission said it was important to realise the right relationship with money.
He explained: “What is of value is more than simply money. There are problems caused in society by wealth as well as the lack of it. Jesus talked about the 'deceitfulness of wealth.' We want the Church to help bring a new vision of what might be achievable in the economic, social and community life of the nation, rather than simply a rush to return to 'business as usual'.”