Methodist Conference Pledges to Close the Gap

On 6 July 2011, the Methodist Conference voted to "support entusiastically" our campaign to Close the Gap between rich and poor in the UK.

The Conference held a lively and passionate discussion about poverty and inequality, then accepted a report, Of Equal Value: Poverty and Inequality in the United Kingdom. This says that the Methodist Conference::

  • reaffi rms its commitment to ending the scourge of poverty and to promoting the welfare of the poorest and most vulnerable in representations to all levels of government and civil society;
  • calls upon the Methodist people to consider how best they may play their part in bringing this about, be it by prayer, charity, social action or political action;
  • will speak out where changes to Government policy adverselyaffect the poorest or most vulnerable, and when these groups are portrayed unfairly;
  • calls upon the Methodist people to examine their own practices to ensure they are contributing all taxes that are owed, both legally and morally, to ask if tax ‘effi ciencies’ are in fact tax avoidance strategies outside of the intention of the law, and to challenge the culture where the payment of tax is viewed as a merely a legal obligation to be minimised, rather than a moral obligation to be embraced;
  • will promote a fair tax system where all income groups share fairly the tax burden and preferably the wealthiest contribute more as a proportion of their income, and where all individuals and companies pay their contribution to society by both the spirit and the letter of the law;
  • will encourage policies which seek to reduce the levels of poverty and inequality in the UK;
  • will support enthusiastically Church Action on Poverty’s Close the Gap campaign;
  • encourages and congratulates the Government on its commitment to end child poverty by 2020;
  • will promote fair working conditions for the poorest by continuing to support the Fair Work Coalition, and other campaigns aimed at enabling low-paid workers to have dignifi ed, life-enhancing employment;
  • welcomes and seeks to engage constructively with the Government as it tries to simplify the benefi ts system and to enable more people to work without fear of losing their benefi ts;
  • reaffi rms a commitment to linking benefi t levels to a minimum income standard so that those unable to work may live in dignity.

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