09 January 2024, The Tablet

This year must mark ‘the beginning of the end for poverty’

Senior church and charity leaders have called for urgent action on rising UK and world poverty, arguing that the human cost of failing to take action now is “too big and too damaging” to ignore.

In a joint statement, they described poverty as a consequence of political choices and priorities. With a General Election on the horizon, they called for 2024 to “mark the beginning of the end for poverty”.

Signatories included Niall Cooper, director of Church Action on Poverty, Bishop of Salford John Arnold, Christine Allen, executive director of Cafod, Patrick Watt, chief executive of Christian Aid and Nigel Harris, chief executive of Tearfund as well as representatives of Churches Together in England, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Baptist Union, Church of Scotland, Methodist Conference, Quakers in Britain, Salvation Army UK, United Reformed Church and St Vincent de Paul Society.

In the statement, they said they aimed to demonstrate solidarity between agencies and churches working to tackle poverty in the UK and globally and signalled intent to work together to mobilise Church members to put poverty on the agenda through “practical action, prophetic words and courageous campaigning”.

As part of this, Christian Aid, the Trussell Trust, Church Action on Poverty and the Joint Public Issues Team of the Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches released Act on Poverty, a six-week resource for church groups to explore the impacts of poverty in the UK and globally and to take action ahead of the General Election. Designed for use during Lent or later in 2024, the resource brings campaigners from UK and global contexts into dialogue about the differences and similarities between their visions for an end to poverty.

The Climate Coalition also released an open letter to party leaders for election year, calling for urgent action to address the climate and nature crises. The coalition is calling for a commitment to an environmental rights bill to drive better decisions for nature and improve public health. The coalition is also calling for polluters to pay for damaging nature and for protected areas for nature to be expanded.






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