17 May 2005

Response to the Queen's Speech

Anthea Cox, Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice: "There are several items in the Queen's Speech that the Methodist Church supports. In particular, the Government's plans to use its presidency of the G8 to secure progress in tackling poverty and climate change is very welcome, as is the commitment to rural services and to cutting poverty in the UK. We also look for the Government to support the goals of the Make Poverty History movement at the United Nations Millennium Review Summit and the World Trade Organisation meeting in Hong Kong.

"However, there are some issues that raise concerns. We are glad that the Government will introduce measures to tackle alcohol-related violence, but the Church has been stressing for some time that this is an increasing problem, and that changes to licensing regulations introduced this year are likely to make the situation worse. We are also concerned that legislation on the immigration and asylum system, although aimed at producing a 'fair and flexible' system, will be adversely influenced by the highly negative view of asylum promoted by some parties during the General Election.

"As always, we offer our prayers and support to all MPs and working peers as they consider these issues. The UK's leadership of the EU and the G8 gives us a rare chance to act as an influence for positive change, and we hope that this opportunity is not wasted."

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