The President of the Methodist Conference in Britain has said the government's cuts strategy should be judged primarily on how it impacts upon the poorest in society.
Addressing a rally organised by the Trade Union Congress today, the Rev Alison Tomlin expressed serious concern that the Comprehensive Spending Review, due to be published tomorrow, will hit the poorest hardest - despite promises to the contrary from the Coalition.
Speaking at Methodist Central Hall Westminster, Ms Tomlin declared: “The past ten to fifteen years of boom benefited some sections of society but not the poorest. Relatively their income went down. Justice or, to use that popular word, ‘fairness’, demand that they do not suffer now during the bust."
She added: “Earlier this month Eric Pickles asked us to judge the government on how they treated the most vulnerable. That we will do."
The Methodist President added: “The task the government has set itself of cutting the deficit to zero in a short space of time while not harming the most vulnerable is a difficult one, some may say an impossible one. We shall wait and see but the initial signs are not promising.
“Brief conversations with colleagues highlight the fears that they have for the work going on in the communities they serve. The people whose compassion and hard work have created and sustained each of these projects will not be sleeping well tonight. And they will rightly be wondering about the meaning of the phrase 'Big Society'.”
She concluded: “John Wesley, and the Methodist Church he founded, believe it is inconceivable to follow Christ and not have the welfare of the poor and the vulnerable close to your heart, and we are proud to stand beside others who share those concerns today.”
The full text of the address can be found here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/13367