Church Action on Poverty (CAP) is calling on Christians to demand that politicians make it a priority to close the gap between rich and poor, following the release of startling new figures revealing a dramatic level of inequality in the UK.
The report, An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK, was commissioned by the Government and published today (27 January 2010). It shows that the richest 10 per cent of the population are now more than 100 times as wealthy as the poorest 10 per cent of society.
Income inequality is at its highest level since soon after World War II and is higher than in other industrialised countries. The new report highlights particularly the lifelong negative impact on a child of being born poor and into a disadvantaged social class.
Church Action on Poverty Coordinator, Niall Cooper, commented: “These shocking findings demand urgent attention, and should be a wake-up call to churches and political parties alike. They are an indictment not just of politicians, but of our failure as a society to look after the poorest and the most vulnerable. The gospel message is clear - this level of inequality, and the damage it does to families, communities and the nation as a whole, is contrary to God's will."
He continued: “As the General Election comes ever closer, it is our responsibility as Christians to speak out. We must challenge politicians - and the general public - to make narrowing the gap between rich and poor one of the top priorities for the next government.”
Churches can act now by taking part in Poverty and Homelessness Action Week, which begins on 30 January 2101, says CAP - one of the sponsors of the event.
The theme this year is ‘Enough For All’. Churches will be tackling poverty and inequality by sharing out the resources in their communities more fairly.
Individual Christians can also help tackle UK inequality by joining Church Action on Poverty’s ‘Close The Gap’ network, the group suggest. It is encouraging people to sign up at www.church-poverty.org.uk/closethegap  to receive monthly emails, with simple actions you can take online to speak out for a fairer society.
An Anatomy of Income Inequality in the UK was commissioned by Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, and produced by the National Equality Panel. It can be downloaded at www.equalities.gov.uk/pdf/NEP%20Report%20bookmarked.pdf  (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document).
Church Action on Poverty is a national ecumenical Christian social justice charity, committed to tackling poverty in the UK. It works in partnership with churches and with people in poverty themselves to find local, national and global solutions.
Visit www.actionweek.org.uk  for free resources and ideas for Poverty & Homelessness Action Week, including the practical booklet 12 Baskets.