We’re working with churches across the UK to share visions of a Good Society – first at events on Church Action on Poverty Sunday, and then by holding General Election hustings events based on the churches’ Vision of a Good Society.
By sharing our own vision, we hope churches can challenge politicians to talk more about their own positive visions, and less about short-term problems and negative issues. So we’ve asked Christian politicians and candidates of all parties to share their reactions to our 2020 Vision of the Good Society, and talk about their own aspirations.
To avoid any bias in our presentation, we’ve selected the order of these guest blogs at random. This one is from Plaid Cymru.
Plaid Cymru believes that the bonds which tie communities together have never been more important – nor have they been more greatly threatened.
The income gap between rich and poor is growing. Prices are rising more quickly than wages, and too many people are facing job insecurity. Three fifths of those who moved from unemployment into work in 2014 are paid below the Living Wage (New Policy Institute, Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2014 Report Summary). There are 13 million people living in poverty in the UK today – and half of those are in working families.
Plaid Cymru believes that a Good Society should be based on fair wages for a fair job done, mutual support in communities and decisions being made close to home. That is why we want to see the functions of the Department for Work and Pensions being devolved to the Welsh Assembly. Plaid Cymru would scrap the bedroom tax and would set up a Welsh JobCentre Plus system which would focus on helping people into work rather than punishing them for the disadvantages they face.
It cannot be right that millionaires in the City of London are paid astronomical sums of money for taking risks with other people’s money – and that they aren’t held to account when those risks don’t pay off. Instead, record numbers of people in Wales are forced to turn to payday lenders and food banks for support. Reducing the deficit must not rely on punishing the most vulnerable in society.
Plaid Cymru has long supported a credit cap on payday lenders to prevent people falling into lending that cannot be repaid. We would put a windfall tax on payday lenders, which we would use to promote credit unions and responsible lending for those who are struggling.
But communities must have a safe environment in which to thrive. Plaid Cymru believes that Wales’ natural resources should be treasured – and we would use those natural resources in the best and sustainable interests of our communities. Plaid Cymru would transfer responsibility for Wales’ natural resources to the Welsh Assembly – so enabling us to ensure that Wales always has the energy supply it needs, through prioritising renewable sources.
Communities rely on cooperation and good will between citizens – and everyone should have a stake in their communities’ future. That is why we believe that churches – just like all faiths – have a valuable insight into the way in which our society is functioning. And it is only right that they should have a voice in the upcoming General Election campaign. Our politicians will be pleased to hear from leaders of all faiths and to get their views on tackling inequality and the issues which most concern our citizens.
It is only by working together that a truly fair and just society can be forged – and surely that, ultimately, is what a ‘Good’ Society should be.