NGOs team up for UK poverty drive

A major campaign to stamp out poverty across the UK got under way this week.

Children's and development charities teamed up with religious groups to host launch an event badged The National Poverty Hearing at Westminster Central Hall this Wednesday.

The campaign aims to eradicate poverty in the UK by 2020 and is being spearheaded by religious charity Church Action on Poverty.

Age Concern, Barnardo's, Church Urban Fund, End Child Poverty, Help the Aged, Oxfam, the Refugee Council and Shelter are involved, as are trade unions Unison and the TUC.

Church Action on Poverty event co-ordinator Niall Cooper said the campaign would use the combined clout of religious and secular NGOs to add weight to the campaign.

Awareness of the poverty faced by groups such as the elderly and asylum seekers will be raised in national media via case studies. The campaign will also have a lobbying element to encourage all parties to commit to the 2020 target.

The launch event was chaired by newsreader Jon Snow and Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee.

Speakers included Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Willi­ams, Catholic leader Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and Muslim Council of Britain general-secretary Muhammad Abdul Bari.

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