The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, is calling on people to ‘stand up for what is right’ when people in poverty are accused of being shirkers and skivers, and to offer practical support.
“We are all members of one community,” he said. “ We must speak out against the rumours, misrepresentations and prejudice that undermine our solidarity with one another.”
The Archbishop was speaking at the launch of Truth and Lies About Poverty today (Tues 10 Dec) in the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay, a report jointly published by Oxfam Cymru and the Church in Wales.
Truth and Lies About Poverty nails six common myths about people living in poverty with facts and figures, including that ‘they’ are lazy and don’t want to work, and ‘they’ are on the fiddle. The report was originally published by an alliance of churches called the Joint Public Issues Team. The new document has been translated in Welsh for the first time and there is a bilingual summary available. The full report can be downloaded from the websites of Oxfam Cymru and the Church in Wales.
Dr Morgan said, “This report brings together concern for the poor and concern for truth-telling, and reminds us that it is our duty as Christians and as members of society not just to offer practical help, but to stand up for what is right. Only when we have a true understanding of the realities of poverty can we even begin to tackle it and build a more just and successful society for all.”
The launch was hosted and attended by Vaughan Gething AM, the deputy minister for tackling poverty. Delegates also heard accounts of people struggling with poverty from Paul Stepczak, lead cluster officer for Communities First in Glyncoch.
Julian Rosser, Head of Oxfam Cymru, said,“If you relied on Government ministers and certain tabloids for information, you’d think that if people just pulled their socks up and worked hard, there would be no such thing as poverty. The reality is that there are just not enough jobs out there, benefits are under siege from sanctioning and even being in work is no defence against poverty as wages lag behind inflation and zero-hours and short term contracts are on the increase.”
He called on people to come together under the banner of Cuts Watch Cymru and Oxfam Cymru and its partners to challenge encroachments on the welfare state and call for a more equal society.
The six myths identified in the report about people in poverty are:
- ‘They’ are lazy and don’t want to work;
- ‘They’ are addicted to drink and drugs;
- ‘They’ are not really poor – they just don’t manage their money properly;
- ‘They’ are on the fiddle
- ‘They’ have an easy life;
- ‘They’ caused the deficit