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Christian faith leaders back Gordon Brown’s employment alliance

by Press Association

Faith leaders are backing a campaign by former prime minister Gordon Brown to prevent the virus crisis leading to mass unemployment.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Archbishops of Edinburgh and Arundel & Brighton, as well as the Head of the Methodist Church in Britain have joined senior Rabbis and leading Muslim scholars to pledge support for the Alliance For Full Employment.

The Alliance was formed last month by Mr Brown, with support from the Metro Mayors of Newcastle, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool and London City Regions, the Mayor of Bristol and the First Minister of Wales.

It sets out a set of proposals aimed at preventing the Covid crisis from becoming a major social and economic catastrophe.

In a joint statement published on Sunday, representatives of Britain's many faith groups write: "As faith leaders we welcome the creation of the UK-wide Alliance for Full Employment to focus on alleviating the risks of unemployment, on helping young people into work and training and on the need for proper protection for families facing the loss of jobs and a cut in incomes."

In a letter to Mr Brown, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby makes a spiritual rallying call of support for the Alliance.

"The idea of work and employment as essential to human dignity is a deeply Christian concern and is rooted in the Bible from Genesis onwards," he said.

Mr Brown said: "Many leaders, of different faiths and denominations, agree the pressures of the Covid-19 crisis now being faced by families and communities across our nations and regions is of moral as well as economic and social concern.

"We all agree about the damage done to individual's self-worth, to family life and to the social fabric of communities when mass unemployment hits.

"I have looked back on the Faith in the City Initiative of 1980s and many other faith interventions calling for action when unemployment was at its post-war highest. And we all want to come together to sound a warning that something has to be done.

"I know faith groups are making representations on the damage done by high levels of homelessness and debt and the threat of rising child poverty.

"But it is important too to show how high levels of employment and decent wages can help reduce poverty and our Alliance is seeking to do this."

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