Westminster Prelate Urges Parliament to Learn From Aid Groups

Notes Their Experience at Front Lines of Economic Battle

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LONDON, NOV. 25, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, gave some advice to British Members of Parliament on how to deal with the economic pressures affecting many people.

On Tuesday he spoke at a parliamentary reception organized by Caritas Social Action Network, an agency of the bishops’ conference.

He urged politicians to listen to the concerns of those who have front line experience and who are helping people to deal with the economic and social pressures affecting many families and young people.

The government is currently considering changes to the Welfare Reform Bill. There are concerns that this will penalize some people who depend on public welfare.

In his speech Archbishop Nichols outlined three areas of concern.

— The effects of economic austerity and cutbacks which are being felt disproportionally by the most vulnerable. He also said that «some aspects of the distribution of wealth cause scandal and dismay.»

— Last summer’s disturbances in some parts of England «demonstrated a callous disregard for the common good of our communities, increasing the burden for those whose homes and businesses were affected.»

— There are enormous pressures on families and particularly on young people.

The archbishop of Westminster praised the work of Catholic agencies, saying that thousands of staff and volunteers work hard to improve the lives of many people in an effort that is both professional and compassionate.

He recommended that the Ministers, MPs and Peers present at the gathering learn more about the work being done by these organizations, «and to hear from the experts working daily with the most vulnerable people in our society.»

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