Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Joint Resolution of URC and Methodist Councils on Poverty

Earlier this month the Councils of the United Reformed Church and the Methodist Church held a unique joint meeting. Among other business, the two Councils had a lively debate on poverty and inequality, and agreed the following resolution as a joint basis for further work in each denomination.

The Methodist Council and URC Mission Council meeting together note that:

• despite being the 5th wealthiest country in the world, in the UK almost 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 3 Children live in poverty
• income inequality in the UK has risen to its highest level since the Second World War
• all are created to experience life in all its fullness, and that for those in poverty lack of resource is an often insurmountable obstacle to this
• relative poverty impacts on life chances, in terms of lower educational attainment, health, and life expectancy
• inequality is increasingly a barrier to the relationships within society and it is clear that the impact of inequality makes us all poorer economically, socially and spiritually
• 20th October 2010 the government will announce reductions in spending expected to have lasting effects on the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

The Methodist Council and URC Mission Council meeting together resolve:

• to promote just distribution of income by confirming our commitment to the Living Wage and by calling for benefit and wage policies that provide the opportunity for all to live and work in dignity
• through the work of the Joint Public Issues Team and others, to challenge the causes of poverty and inequality inherent in our society
• to stand alongside those worst affected by the government spending review and to demand that the burdens of the current economic situation are not unfairly put on the poor and the vulnerable
• to challenge those who would stigmatise the poor and portray those in poverty as “lazy”, or “having made a lifestyle choice”, or being “scroungers”
• to listen to and tell the real stories of those who struggle on low incomes.

Addressing poverty and inequality is one of the Joint Public Issues Team’s core priorities for the year ahead. It will form a key theme at the Public Issues Conference on 22 January 2011. More information about the Conference will appear in later postings.