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Tackle psychological context of violence, says Lord Williams

16 May 2014


In bad company: the singer-songwriter Gary Barlow, ordered last week to repay millions placed in a tax-avoidance scheme

In bad company: the singer-songwriter Gary Barlow, ordered last week to repay millions placed in a tax-avoidance scheme

WARS on terror have not made the world "conspicuously safer", nor has intensified surveillance, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams told parliamentarians last week.

Delivering the inaugural Christian Aid parliamentary lecture last Friday, to mark the launch of Christian Aid Week, Lord Williams, who chairs the charity, suggested that tackling violence meant addressing "radically unequal" levels of access to power. This inequality had helped to create "the environment in which, with nothing to lose, people may risk extreme behaviour and aggression".

In a lecture that explored the psychology of violence, Lord Williams suggested that "if we ignore the role of powerlessness, the sense of having nothing to lose, in fostering violence, we shall fail spectacularly to see why our world is racked with such murderous insecurity."

Men who committed violence against women, for example, were subject to "fear and confusion" that needed to be addressed. Those most affected by climate change and tax avoidance felt "ignored", and bereft of redress.

He praised aid agencies for "trying very hard to listen to the priorities defined 'on the ground'".

Besides offering a critique of wars on terror, Lord Williams suggested that it was "ironic that those who most deplore a 'culture of dependence' can so often be found shoulder to shoulder with those who want nothing to change in the relations of rich and poor".

Judge rules on tax-avoidance scheme. Three members of the band Take That may have to pay back millions of pounds in tax, after a tribunal judge ruled that a scheme that they had invested in had been set up for tax-avoidance purposes, it was reported on Saturday.

In a statement, HMRC said that it had put in place "generous reliefs to support genuine business investment, and our tax reliefs for the creative industries work well. . . But we will not tolerate abuse of the system by people trying to dodge their tax obligations."

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