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Gordon Brown and Church of Scotland join forces at 'emergency' cost of living summit

by Sophie Drew

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has joined forces with the Church of Scotland  to tackle the cost of living crisis. 

Mr Gorden and Very Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly 2020-21, appeared at an "emergency summit" in Fife on Saturday to hear testimonies from people experiencing significant financial hardship. 

The Poverty Hearing Day was held at Wellesley Parish Church Centre in Methil, aimed at tackling “the evil of poverty.” 

The former PM is the son of a Church of Scotland minister. He appeared at the event to highlight “The Big Hoose Fife Project”, that sees surplus retail goods given to families in need, instead of being wasted. 

The project is supported by the Church in Fife; the region is said to have one of the worst child poverty rates in the country. 

Speaking ahead of the Poverty Hearing, which bears the slogan ‘if people work together we’ve got a chance’, Dr Fair said: “The Church is committed to the Five Marks of Mission, the third of which is ‘to respond to human need by loving service.’ 

“Addressing poverty is where those fine sounding words become reality.

“I’m honoured to be taking part in the Poverty Hearing and much is possible when people get together.

“But while I hope there is consensus and unity of purpose among the delegates, let there be a simmering anger that our country continues to be so divided.”

The emergency summit is the brainchild of the Fife Presbytery’s Poverty Task Force, headed up by Rev Jane Barron. 

She said: "When Jesus said ‘the poor are always with us, he was urging a generous response and that is what Fife Presbytery is calling for because families and individuals are facing a catastrophic rise in basic living costs.

"Many congregations and organisations in Fife have been working to help people trapped in poverty since the financial crash in 2008.

"We thought times were tough then but the recent and seemingly unending price hikes and soaring costs of the most basic items for survival are catapulting too many into Dickensian times and conditions.”

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