A NEW CAMPAIGN against poverty in the UK, Get Fair, was launched by a coalition of more than 50 faith and community groups yesterday. Members include the Church Urban Fund, the Methodist and United Reformed Churches, the Iona Community, the Muslim Council of Britain, Oxfam, and Help the Aged.
The coalition calls on politicians to deliver on their commitment to ending child poverty by 2020, and to extend this goal to ending poverty across all generations. It says that the Government could: invest £4 billion immediately in measures to halve child poverty by 2010; improve take-up of existing benefits (to take 500,000 pensioners out of poverty); look at benefit levels for Job Seeker’s Allowance and asylum-seekers; make sure people’s income rose in line with average earnings; and ensure people did not face a pound-for-pound withdrawal when they went back to work. It wants more social housing, and universal access to essential services.
The campaign says that 30 per cent of children in the UK live in poverty, and 23 per cent of pensioners live below the poverty line. Moreover, soaring fuel bills are likely to push more people into financial difficulties, it says.
A YouGov poll commissioned by Get Fair found that 69 per cent of those polled wanted to see better training to help people escape poverty, while 36 per cent said that there should be more government intervention to help the poorest. Two per cent did not think that poverty existed in the UK.
Niall Cooper of Church Action on Poverty, a co-ordinator of Get Fair, said that too many people had failed to share in increased national prosperity because of the lack of “popular pressure and political will”.
Get Fair supports the Keep the Promise rally, organised by End Child Poverty, in Trafalgar Square, London, on 4 October.
Faithworks grant. The Christian social-action group Faithworks has been awarded a National Lottery grant of £950,000 to establish faith-sector networks in the nine English regions.
Annual appeal. The Salvation Army hopes to raise £2.6 million for its social work this year.