Letters - 26 January 2018

From solving poverty to 'never again'

Solving poverty

Friends concerned about the levels of poverty in the UK can welcome the news of Claire Ainsley’s appointment at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) to take forward its proposals to end poverty (19 February).

Poverty is about people lacking the resources necessary to share in ordinary and inclusive levels of living. The cause of poverty , I think, is the unequal distribution of personal and public resources by society’s structures, not poor people’s individual behaviour or deprivation.

Friends will be familiar with burning issues such as food poverty, homelessness and destitution, which are among the signs of someone’s lack of the resources that aid social inclusion and freedom of choice.

The 2016 JRF report on ‘solving poverty’ is full of ideas about to cope the consequences of such evils. Campaigning about the unequal distribution of resources that, it can be argued, cause poverty in the first place is regarded as ‘political’. The JRF, as a charity, avoids do so.

In this context, Friends can support the JRF and Claire Ainsley in finding better ways of addressing Joseph Rowntree’s original insight that ‘much of the current philanthropic effort is directed to remedying the more superficial manifestations of weakness or evil, while little thought or effort is directed to search out their underlying causes’.

John Veit-Wilson

Sharing belief

I was interested to read David Rubinstein’s account of the survey at Friargate Meeting (19 January), but must say I was saddened, rather than fascinated, by the comment of a member ‘…how little we know of the spiritual beliefs of those who sit alongside us’.

In view of our, laudable, lack of creeds or set beliefs, it would seem particularly important that we share the beliefs we hold individually with each other, in ministry, special meetings and conversation, not only for their intrinsic interest but, also, because they might be helpful to others on their spiritual journeys.

Martin Hartog

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