Welfare cuts and Inequality

Welfare cuts and Inequality

We are very concerned about the cuts in welfare payments and the way they are made.  We will be talking to our MP, David Ruffley about this.

Nationally, Quakers have issued this minute:

We have gathered at Woodbrooke to consider Quaker responses to welfare cuts and inequality. We have heard from Friends with personal experience of the effects of benefit cuts and poverty. Our Gathering has reflected the fear, anger and despondency which the dismantling of a social security safety net has brought to many. We find there is still much work to do to make known the effects of the benefit cuts and low income on individuals, both in our Meetings and more widely.

While some of us are supporting a number of local actions on housing and food distribution, we are outraged that this is necessary. Such inequality diminishes us all.

There is much energy for urgent action. We ask that the numerous proposals for action from this meeting be communicated to QPSW Central Committee and to Meeting for Sufferings. These include collaborating with faith and other groups in a march; an activist network able to work on strategy with Turning the Tide; short serial boycotts of corporations with a history of tax avoidance advertised through social media; and stronger links between Parliamentary Liaison and activism within Meetings.

Friends, and the Economics Sustainability and Peace committee, are also investigating and informing ourselves about the structural causes of inequality and the influences on our political system which exacerbate it. Much more work on this is needed, so that we can envision a better system and promote an economy and society in which our testimonies can flourish.

We recognize that we need to return regularly to our testimonies to ask what we are called to do in the current situation; and to affirm Quaker values explicitly in our opposition to the treatment of vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

We ask Local and Area Meetings to consider where collective action is possible in solidarity with those affected and to challenge and improve structures; and to support individuals in their engaged work. We hope these matters will be considered by a Special Interest Group at Yearly Meeting in 2014.

We send this minute to QPSW Central Committee and ask them to forward our concern to Meeting for Sufferings.