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BUGB and other Free Churches speak out...

This from BUGB's Facebook page (apologies if formatting is iffy)....

The Baptist Union along with other free churches have sent this letter to the Guardian.

Subsidiarity without solidarity equals injustice
It is with a sense of anger and consternation that we the undersigned have learnt of the UK government’s decision to block the extension of the fund for the distribution of material assistance to the most deprived in the EU member states to support food banks and homeless shelters. At a time of growing demand for food aid from food banks in the UK, it is distressing to hear that the government has rejected this strand of funding in favour of funding for “immaterial assistance” to cover counselling and budget maintenance based on the principle of subsidiarity.
As churches who are at the forefront of delivering food aid to growing numbers of people across the UK, we take strong exception to the government pointing to our pastoral care as a prime example of the ‘Big Society at work’ whilst actively opposing EU funding to support this vital social service. This is not only hypocritical but unjust, as subsidiarity must always be balanced with the Gospel value of solidarity, as Catholic Social Teaching makes clear.
At this Christmas time as we once more reflect on God’s loving solidarity with suffering humanity in the person of Jesus Christ, we are reminded that ‘as members of the one human family, we have mutual obligations to promote the rights and development of peoples across communities and nations. Solidarity is the fundamental bond of unity with our fellow human beings and the resulting interdependence. All are responsible for all; and in particular the rich have responsibilities towards the poor. National and international structures must reflect this!’
We therefore issue an urgent summons to the UK government to rethink their decision to reject funding from the £2.5bn fund – European Aid to the Most Deprived – to ensure that not only are people helped into sustainable work (which we all agree is the best long term solution), but that as a caring society we are able to continue providing food aid and other essential services to those who find themselves in extremity in the midst of abundance.

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