The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, delivered his 11th (and probably his last) Budget today. It contained very little that was of surprise – mroe investment in environmental initiatives, harsher penalties against heavier polluters, and greater investment in schools and hospitals. It is good to see that the importance of caring for our planet and providing better public services were high on the agenda.
I was also very pleased to note the extra investment that was pledged to help tackle child poverty, through education, training and family tax allowances and benefits. There will also be new funding for community organisations and a drive to increase take-up of the Gift Aid scheme.
There is a growing recognition that poverty is still a harsh reality for many children in Britain, not just in terms of money or possessions, but poverty of aspiration, of identity, or civic poverty.
While extra money will help to tackle all these, a cash injection on its own is just not enough. We need a new, more participative approach to citizenship and community. The government needs to recognise the role of the church and other faith groups in building a better world, while the church needs to re-capture it vision as an agency for social change.
I’ve explored these thoughts in more detail here.
I’d love to know what you think….