The Common Good
December 2008

British Churches Push for a Fair Economy

by Rose Marie Berger, Amy Spaulding | December 2008

Get Fair, a United Kingdom-based coalition of religious and secular groups that launched in September, seeks to pressure politicians to end poverty in the U.K. by 2020. The alliance of more than 50 charities and faith-based institutions—including Oxfam, Islamic Aid, Iona Community, Caritas Social Action, and the Baptist Union of Great Britain, plus several denominations—cites survey data as evidence that politicians must do more to dramatically reduce domestic poverty.

According to a Get Fair poll conducted in August, “51 percent of [Britons]—evenly spread across gender, age group, social class, and region—say they would be more inclined to vote for a party that takes ‘serious measures’ to eradicate poverty.” Additionally, the data show that one in five Britons live in poverty.

“The U.K. is becoming richer but not fairer,” Get Fair’s Vanessa Stanislas said in a press release. “This poll suggests that they will reward the political party which has the confidence to tackle poverty.” While the organization draws ideas from previous anti-poverty movements, “Get Fair’s distinctiveness is in its breadth and overall political ambition,” Get Fair’s Niall Cooper told Sojourners. “Most other coalitions and umbrella groups in the U.K. focus on specific target groups, such as child poverty. In contrast, Get Fair is seeking to build a much broader coalition to mobilize opinion within civil society and the general public.” Cooper also noted that the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services is launching a similar anti-poverty campaign called “Made Poor in New Zealand?”

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