Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor called on all members of society to work together to alleviate poverty


The Cardinal was addressing an audience of religious leaders, charities, trade union delegates, politicians and people with experience of poverty in the UK at the National Poverty Hearing Day in London on Wednesday 6 December.

The event brought together this diverse group of people to convey the experiences of poverty in everyday Britain.

“Government can help by giving more money, but this is an issue not just for social services. They do a good job, but it is not enough. Voluntary organisations and faith communities are able to help people to access the benefits that are due to them. However, this is not just about rights, it is about care and love for one’s neighbour,” said the Cardinal.

“I have been moved by the testimony of people this morning. Poverty is all around us and we are all part of the human family. While we never be able to eradicate poverty, we can, and indeed it is our duty to, alleviate it. “One of the benefits of a day like today is that not only can we alert the government and social services, but also to alert all of the good people in this country that there are so many people who need our help. Each one is our neighbour and it is our duty and responsibility to care for our neighbours.The message from the Gospels is that we all have responsibility to each other. As Christ teaches in the Gospel: Whatever you do to the least of my children, you do to me.”

The event, co-ordinated by Church Action on Poverty, took place at Westminster Centre Hall. In addition to the Cardinal, there were also contributions from Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, Bishop of Hulme Stephen Lowe, general secretary to the Muslim Council of Britain Muhammad Abdul Bari and chief secretary to the Treasury Stephen Timms MP.

Charities including Age Concern, ATD Fourth World, Barnardo’s, Church Urban Fund, End Child Poverty, Help the Aged, Oxfam, the Refugee Council, the Scottish Poverty Alliance, Shelter and the UK Coalition Against Poverty were represented.

They will join forces with Unison and the TUC to call on attendees to commit themselves to making UK Poverty History.The National Poverty Hearing is seeking to secure the commitment of all major political parties to the goal of ending poverty in the UK by 2020, including:

Ensuring that all people are guaranteed a decent, adequate income – including meeting existing targets to halve child poverty by 2010.

Ensuring that all people are paid a living wage which enables them to achieve an acceptable standard of living for themselves and their family.Ending bad housing and homelessness.

Ensuring that no-one who has claimed asylum in the UK is left homeless, destitute and hungry, without any recourse to state support or entitlement to work.