Welcome from Neil Gray MP, Vice Chair APPG on Poverty
If someone is in poverty in the 21st Century, what does that really mean?
Asset rich/money poor, fuel poor, food poor and working poor – none of these are acceptable in this day and age. How can the fifth wealthiest economy in the world have such varying and worrying types of poverty?
Although it is a privilege and honour to serve as Vice-Chair of the APPG on Poverty it is extremely sad and upsetting that there is the need for such a group.
It is a terrible fact that in the UK today we have a growing number of families who are reliant foodbanks. Whatever the reason for this, we all have a moral responsibility to end poverty. We need to stand up for what we believe in and fight to end the scourge of poverty in the UK.
The Government can take the lead in this battle. It can ensure that people have the ability, both practical and financial, to pay their bills, buy food and clothing and enjoy a decent standard of living.
Businesses have their part to play as well. By voluntarily opting to pay the Living Wage, offering training, providing practical support to employees and stop exploiting zero hour contracts. But also recognising their corporate social responsibility and working with communities to improve them and, in the end, enhance their markets.
If we manage to get people enjoying a reasonable standard of living then the economy will benefit. Spending on the high street and online will increase. This will, in turn, boost manufacturing thus creating employment. Imports will increase bringing with them jobs in the customer service and logistics sectors.
This APPG on Poverty will aim to bring a multi-disciplinary approach to its work. We know that there is a long road ahead and I am sure it will be frustrating at times but, by holding discussions with businesses, consumer groups, trade unions, and charities, we will work together to strive for our long-term goal of eradicating poverty in the UK.