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Rowan Williams: The world's poor are not a political football

21 April 2017 - A statement from Chair of Christian Aid and former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams:

"Britain's political and social landscape is in flux and we face great choices about the soul and future of our nation. We can choose to turn inwards and struggle more and more urgently to protect ourselves; or we can look outwards, recognising that our good is bound up with that of others.

“The UK aid budget is at the heart of the choice between Little Britain and Global Britain. Our help to the world's poorest and most vulnerable people is something to be proud of, not a political football. Of course, the aid budget is not above debate; how we best and most effectively direct aid is a matter that needs discussing. But we must be careful not to present people with false choices that set the needs of the most vulnerable in our own society against those of people living in long-term poverty and powerlessness overseas, whose priority is the capacity to decide their own future and secure their own well-being.

"We British are known for standing up for the underdog and standing firm when things get tough. We do not only look out for those less fortunate than ourselves; we want to meet halfway those working hard to stand on their own two feet. Aid is not about creating dependence but helping people become valued partners and co-workers for a safe and equitable world. And the continuing levels of public generosity from British people in response to successive emergency appeals show how deeply rooted these impulses are in our national identity and our sense of responsibility to the wider world.

"As we debate the future of our country, our relationship to the EU and our new relationship with the world, we should wear our aid budget as a badge of honour that sets a standard for others to follow."

“The British public are proud that our great nation hasn't turned its back on the world's poorest people.  So, at a time when the world most needs our leadership and strength, we call on the leaders of all parties to hold firm on the promise we have made, and stand up for their belief in a bigger Britain.”


Unfortunately Dr Williams is not available for interview, but for other Christian Aid spokespeople or more information contact Joe Ware on jware@christian-aid.org or call him on +447870944485. 

Notes to editors: 

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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