'Close the Gap' resource helps justice group understand the scale of inequality
Michael Martin, a member of a Catholic Justice and Peace group in Scotland, wrote recently in the Justice and Peace Scotland newsletter:
Resources to help groups campaigning on the issue of poverty in Britain can be hard to find. However, at St. Joseph's in Clarkston, we have found a very useful resource, though until now we have made limited use of it.
The resource is the 'Mind the Gap Income Chart' produced by Church Action on Poverty. The chart is printed on sheets of A4, where each sheet represents ��100,000 of income. Symbols represent people at different levels of income. While 9O% of the adult population only earn enough money to get halfway down the first page, the richest earners are 30 pages away!
The chart illustrates in a dramatic way the gap in our society between the richest and poorest, and brings home the scale of the (widening) gap in income.
Does this gap matter? Well, the chart ends with a quote from the English and Welsh Bishops' Conference: "There must come a point at which the scale of the gap between the very wealthy and those at the bottom of the range of income begins to undermine the common good. This is the point at which society starts to be run for the benefit of the rich, not for all its members."
How have we used the chart? We displaved it at one of our own group meetings so that we ourselves would appreciate the scale of the problem. We also displaved it at our local ecumenical Peace and Justice Forum for the same purpose. We have thought of using it at Sunday Mass so that parishioners generally get the message. So far, however, we haven't completely sorted out the
logistics, but it does help to focus people's minds.