Church leaders urge Government to tackle poverty and inequality in UK

They made a public declaration to ‘close the gap’ outside the Houses of Parliament on Monday at the start of the annual Poverty and Homelessness Action Week.

The declaration marked the launch of ‘Pledge to Close the Gap’, Church Action on Poverty’s three-year campaign asking Christians to make simple pledges to give, act and pray to end poverty in the UK.

The church leaders, who included the Anglican Bishop of Dudley the Rt Rev David Walker and President-Designate of the Methodist Conference the Rev Leo Osborn, handed over a joint letter to Prime Minister David Cameron affirming their commitment to close the gap between rich and poor and reminding the Coalition of its responsibility to do the same.

In the letter, they say that the poorest and most vulnerable “are suffering the consequences” of the economic crisis and public spending cuts.

“We understand the many pressures you are under, and that the Coalition is committed to reducing the public deficit over the current parliament. But tackling inequality is not something that can be put off for the ‘good times’,” they say.

The letter then goes on to invite Mr Cameron and ministers in the Coalition Government to make a public pledge to take action to close the gap between rich and poor in the UK.

Bishop Walker said: “The God who meets us in Jesus, calls us to meet and serve each other, yet the gap between the well off and poor has become so wide that few bridge it. Unless we work to ‘close the gap’, the vision of a Big Society will never get off the drawing board.”

The church leaders were joined by Kate Green MP and members of Church Action on Poverty.

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