Under pressure
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Date: 20th October, 2010

'Many of the values behind the cutting are questionable, certainly.'


Steve Tomkins says that now more than ever, churches have a responsibility to support agencies while keeping the government under pressure

These are tough times for everyone, though we all face different degrees of hardship, and so long as you’re not a Liverpool supporter things could always be worse.

The UK faces £83 billion of public spending cuts, resulting in the direct loss of half a million public sector jobs and the indirect loss, probably, of a similar number of jobs in the private sector, along with stringent cuts in benefits, public services and funding for everything from schools to television.

Many of the values behind the cutting are questionable, certainly.

The licence fee is being frozen for six years and the civil list for just one year, suggesting that the Duke of Edinburgh is of six times as much value to the nation as the BBC. I’d to see Mr Osborne’s working out for that one.


And clearly, the financial crisis offers the Conservative party an opportunity for the diminishing of the state which is a fundamental ideological commitment.

However we interpret it though, the financial crisis is real, and so are the spending cuts, and so will their results be.

So it’s an interesting time for Rev. Jesse Jackson to be talking to Christian Aid about the obligations and opportunities of the developed world to join in tackling poverty in the developing world.

He said: "If the haves do not feed the have nots, they face the wrath of the have nots fighting back. It is not sound for fewer and fewer to have more and more, and more and more to have less and less.

"We must be committed to fairly distributing resources of our earth – after all the earth is the Lord’s.

"It is untenable that we have the capacity to do moon shots and yet cannot afford for people to have drinkable water.


"If we use our scientific skills in a correct way, we’ll be able to fight poverty and eliminate it in our time. Poverty as we know it can end in our generation."

As worrying as our own situation is, in a worldwide recession, the needs of the developing world do not diminish.

Rather, those who have least to lose can least afford to lose what they have.

Western governments have already slashed overseas aid, which the UN has warned will result in “ a silent tsunami” and “the loss of a generation”.

In the face of this, churches have a responsibility to do what they can both to raise funding and support for development agencies and also to keep up pressure on the government.

Jackson particularly called on young people to take a lead. ‘Young people must live in the world that they create.… Use your mind, use your vote, use your marching feet, and build coalitions. Those are the things of which change is made.’

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