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‘Scots must think of the poor’ — EA

02 May 2014

SHUTTERSTOCK

BOTH sides in the Scottish referendum should focus on poverty, welfare, dignity, and wealth redistribution, Evangelical Christians say.

The Evangelical Alliance, which says it speaks for more than two million people in the UK, has produced its own manifesto - "What Kind of Nation?" - for the independence debate. It makes 38 recommendations, covering what it describes as the four pillars of Scottish society: the economy, the family, civil society, and the environment.

It calls for "ruthless commitment" to the eradication of poverty, restoration of the dignity of those who rely on the welfare state, and tax incentives to encourage the rich to invest in projects that would tackle Scotland's "most pressing social needs".

The Alliance also calls on both sides to "stop playing politics with people's lives, and allow the views of ordinary people to be heard".

The national director of Evangelical Alliance Scotland, Fred Drummond, said that the debate has been focused too narrowly on the issues of EU membership, the pound, and pensions.

"There are many other important matters, such as poverty, on which people are hurting, which need to be addressed. It cannot be right that the poorest 20 per cent of the population contribute a larger percentage of their wealth in tax than those in the top 20 per cent. It cannot be right that those in work find themselves having to rely on state hand-outs and reliant on visiting foodbanks."

Mr Drummond is also concerned that, despite 60 years of the welfare state, where a person is born can still affect educational achievements, health, and life expectancy. "As Christians we believe such inequality to be an affront to God, and a blatant attack on our humanity as individuals made equally in the image of God."

The Alliance hopes that its manifesto can guide Christians attending a series of hustings with politicians it is organising in June.

The Alliance's director of advocacy, Dave Landrum, said: "The Church is uniquely placed to provide a context for politicians to engage with the public. Across Scotland we have churches at the heart of almost all communities.

"We have something to say in this referendum debate about the sort of society we want to live in."

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