Mark Fairweather Tall
Can a letter change the world?
Can writing a letter make a difference to an estimated one billion people? Who knows? But it is worth trying and the 'IF' campaign to end world hunger is encouraging us to do exactly that. This is what the IF Campaign says on their website...
"Nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night and two million children die from malnutrition every year. We've made progress in other areas, but hunger is still the great scandal of our age. All around the world, even in the UK, people are struggling to feed their families.
In 2013, the government has promised to provide 0.7% of national income for aid and to host a Hunger Summit. We must make sure they keep these promises. In June, the world’s most powerful leaders will meet in the UK at the G8."
Chancellor George Osborne will deliver the 2013 budget on 20th March and there is the opportunity to confirm the allocation of 0.7% of the UK's National Income to life saving aid. Writing a letter to him and encouraging him to do this, just might make a huge difference. It's worth a try...
Here is my letter...
I am a Baptist Minister working in a city centre church in Norwich. As a church, we seek to impact our community by meeting needs in a way that makes a difference to everyday lives, be it through Parent and Toddler sessions, Youth & Children’s activities, a Contact Centre, involvement in Foodbank and those recovering from addictions and so on. We believe it is important that we seek to uphold values of good relationships, compassion and justice as we live out lives of faith.
Compassion and justice are not only important for those in Norwich and our own country but also for people throughout the world. I believe we in the UK have an opportunity and responsibility to lead the way. In hosting the G8 summit later this year, we can make a difference. I strongly support the ‘IF’ campaign and their call to take action to end hunger in the world – two million children dying from malnutrition each year is a tragedy we cannot turn a blind eye to.
I am very pleased that the UK has committed to maintain allocating 0.7 per cent of National Income to aid. Money spent in order to help stop children dying from hunger and to help the poorest people feed themselves is money well spent. However, I am extremely concerned to hear reports suggesting that in your budget later this month you will announce government plans to locate elements of defence spending within the overseas aid budget. To do so will be seen by many as a betrayal of the commitment to the figure of 0.7 per cent. I recognise the importance of international peace keeping to the welfare of those in unstable parts of the world, but I am strongly against it being funded in this way. I also believe that there is the opportunity to use the Finance Bill to make it harder for companies registered in the UK to hide the fact that they are avoiding paying taxes in poorer countries.
Times of financial constraint do lead to difficult decisions needing to be made but such times are also a statement of true priorities. I believe compassion and justice for the worlds poorest should be high on the list of priorities.
As a church, we will pray for you and the decisions that need to be made in the outworking of this important budget.
Mark Fairweather Tall
Find out more about the IF Campaign here... enoughfoodif.org/home