February 4 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

11-FEEDING-THE-HOMELESS

Vulnerable members of our society are the most at risk

Do not mistake the resurgence of wartime memorabilia with the legend Keep Calm and Carry On emblazoned across it—popping up in magazines and television dramas alike—as coincidence or nostalgia.

That wartime spirit of digging deep and getting on with things is very appropriate as Scotland prepares to baton down the hatches and ride out the stormy economic downturn on a wave of deep cuts to public sector jobs and services.

Concern is growing, however, in parishes and communities that those at the thin end of the wedge—the most vulnerable members of our society—are going to be among the worst affected. Local authorities are being asked to find savings but cuts to care for the elderly, for example, target an age group where the bulk of members are already on fixed incomes. Job losses, hitting young families, single and married people alike are offsetting cuts to such key frontline services.

Very few will be untouched by the cutbacks as Scotland looks to save £1.3 billion.

Societies such as SSVP and the Knights of St Columba are pledging to keep a close eye on the situation at local and national level, as are those in the caring professions. However, funding for the charitable sector is also taking a hit.

The problems are not solely Scottish. This week church leaders petitioned Prime Minister David Cameron and the Coalition Government to commit to closing the gap between rich and poor.

“As Christians in leadership positions within our respective denominations and organisations, we consider it is our duty to speak up on behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable—especially at a time when they are suffering the consequences of the economic crisis and public spending cuts,” they said in a letter.

To the Gospel passage ‘The poor you will always have with you’ (Matthew 26:11) Mark adds ‘and you can help them whenever you want.’ (Mark 14:7). It is a key point for those making budgetary decisions to keep at the forefront of their mind.

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