Guest blog piece by Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty
Taxpayers Against Poverty hopes to bring together people of good will of all faiths and of none who are motivated to work with and for the UK's poorest citizens.
My own motivation is both humanitarian and faith based. Since the poll tax in the 1990s I have been moved by the distress among the benefit claimants I have met, who have been forced into debt by draconian laws enforcing council tax, rent and fines against very inadequate incomes in work and unemployment. The fines have been for poverty related offences like fare and TV license evasion and shop lifting.
In fact the first case I supported in the Magistrates court was while I was a student at Theological College in Oxford in 1965 - she was a cleaner on benefit who had been caught shop lifting; there was no fine or costs but a conditional discharge from the Magistrates. She fainted hit her head on the dock and was taken to hospital.
Currently the ever more draconian laws enforce unmanageable council tax, rent and fines arrears against very inadequate and diminishing incomes.
I will leave it to the following letter published in the Church Times last Friday to spell out the motivation inspired by my Christian faith.
Letter in the Church Times.
From the Revd Paul Nicolson
Sir, - It is encouraging to read about the unopposed support for the motion at the General Synod affirming the theological imperative of serving the common good (General Synod, 18 July); but there is within that commitment a theological imperative to make a priority of working with and for our poorest fellow citizens in the villages, towns, and cities of the UK.
That requires congregations actively to study and understand the structures of local and national government which impose the increasingly heavy economic burdens of inadequate incomes and unaffordable housing on already impoverished people - burdens that create innocent suffering among a substantial minority of the UK population.
A Synod motion affirming the common good which does not also explicitly affirm the reform of the UK economy to ensure that there is an affordable, decent home to rent or buy, and an adequate minimum income available for every citizen, is too vague to be a fully representative statement of the good news of Jesus Christ. He chose to die among the rejected and impoverished, to endorse his short life of teaching that they come first.
Taxpayers Against Poverty
93 Campbell Road, London N17 0BF
Taxpayers Against Poverty
93 Campbell Road,
London N17 0BF
also at www.z2k.org
also at www.prohousingalliance.com
Please sign our petition celbrating Martin Luther KingParliament is asked to debate the speech made by Martin Luther King 50 Years ago in Washington USA on the 28 August 1963 and to note that it can be applied to circumstances in Britain in August 2013. He said “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”