Nail the lies about people in poverty, says Archbishop

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, is calling on peopleto 'stand up for what is right' when people in poverty are accusedof being shirkers and skivers, and to offer practical support.

"We are all members of one community," he will say. "We mustspeak out against the rumours, misrepresentations and prejudicethat undermine our solidarity with one another."

The Archbishop will be speaking at the launch of Truth and LiesAbout Poverty today (Tues 10 Dec) in the Pierhead Building, CardiffBay, a report jointly published by Oxfam Cymru and the Church inWales.

Truth and Lies About Poverty nails six common mythsabout people living in poverty with facts and figures, includingthat 'they' are lazy and don't want to work, and 'they' are on thefiddle. The report was originally published by the Joint Public Issues Team, an alliance of national Churches. Thenew document has been translated into Welsh for the first time andthere is a bilingual summary available. The full report will beavailable to download from the websites of Oxfam Cymru and the Church in Wales.

Dr Morgan will say, "This report brings together concernfor the poor and concern for truth-telling, and reminds us that itis our duty as Christians and as members of society not just tooffer practical help, but to stand up for what is right. Only whenwe have a true understanding of the realities of poverty can weeven begin to tackle it and build a more just and successfulsociety for all."

The Revd Jennifer Hurd, Chair of the Methodist Welsh-speakingDistrict, will add: "A recent report from the Joseph RowntreeFoundation has shown that there is more poverty in workinghouseholds in Wales than in non working ones. This is especiallyconcerning in rural areas where poverty is often hidden.

"It is really heartening to see churches joining together tochallenge Government ministers when they make unpleasant and untruestatements about benefit claimants. I hope that as Christians wecan continue to work together to turn the whole 'skiver versesstriver' attitude into a positive and compassionate debate abouthow we can help everyone to reach their full God-givenpotential."

The launch is hosted and attended by Vaughan Gething AM, thedeputy minister for tackling poverty.

Julian Rosser, Head of Oxfam Cymru, will say, "If you relied onGovernment ministers and certain tabloids for information, you'dthink 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 isno defence against poverty as wages lag behind inflation andzero-hours and short term contracts are on the increase."

He will call on people to come together under the banner of CutsWatch Cymru and Oxfam Cymru and its partners to challengeencroachments on the welfare state and call for a more equalsociety.