Letters from Clerks

The following letter has been sent to the Nassar Family at the Tent of Nations:

MILTON KEYNES QUAKER MEETING

The Quaker Centre
1 Oakley Gardens
Downhead Park
MILTON KEYNES
MK15 9BH

27th October 2019

The Nassar Family,
The Tent of Nations.

Dear Mr Nassar and all your family,
We honour and uphold your witness against hatred
In our Meeting for Worship on June 16th, we heard moving Ministry from our Friend Colin Bartlett concerning you and your family, and your life in ‘The Tent of Nations’. Many of those present were deeply affected.
Many of us have also heard individually from Colin and David about their visit to Israel/Palestine – and have long been sympathetic to the cause of your people. We are all deeply distressed by the oppression, fear and animosity that afflicts your country.
Against this background, another Friend brought this matter to our Meeting for Church Affairs (our Business Meeting) in July. Having considered what we had heard we agreed the following minute:
“We give thanks for the Nassar family’s lived faith and witness against hatred. We agree to send a letter thanking them for welcoming Colin Bartlett and David Jones. We wish to let them know that their story of non-violence has been shared within our Meeting and that we uphold them in the Light.”
I would like to add my own personal appreciation for your stance. As a student, I visited the West Bank many years ago and have never forgotten what I learnt about the injustice evident even in those days. I hold in the deepest respect all those who, in circumstances like yours, have the strength, to go beyond the rage and despair that we humans are bound to feel and that can so easily take us over.
In Friendship, yours very sincerely,

Rob Paton, Co-Clerk

PS I am embarrassed by and apologise for the delay in sending this letter – it reflects only a muddle on our part over its preparation!

 

The Tent of Nations website can be found here.

 

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The following letters have been sent to Mark Lancaster MP and Iain Stewart MP respectively:

MILTON KEYNES QUAKER MEETING

The Quaker Centre
1 Oakley Gardens
Downhead Park
MILTON KEYNES
MK15 9BH

24TH April 2019

Mark Lancaster, MP
The House of Commons
Westminster
LONDON SW1

Dear Mark Lancaster ,

Poverty in the UK

At our Business Meeting held on 3rd February, Milton Keynes Friends considered initiatives that Quakers in the UK were taking, to highlight the increasing inequality which is evident in UK society. Friends acknowledged that structural forces are at play, which result in considerable poverty and need in the UK. We agreed that we should take up the matters of inequality and poverty with our members of Parliament.

We warmly welcome the recent statements made by the Minister for Work and Pensions acknowledging that the changes to Universal Credit were a factor contributing to the rise in the use of Food Banks. The increasing number of Food Banks in the UK is itself evidence of the growing distress and suffering for people on low and no incomes.

Changes to Universal Credit were recommended by the UN Special Rapporteur, Prof Philip Alston, who in 2018, drew attention to the failings of the UK’s welfare system in the most graphic terms. He also highlighted the widespread awareness of the problems of poverty in the UK:

‘The country’s most respected charitable groups, its leading think tanks, its parliamentary committees, independent authorities like the National Audit Office, and many others, have all drawn attention to the dramatic decline in the fortunes of the least well off in this country’(1).

You will know that his succinct report was both very moving, in terms of the first- hand testimony he gathered from UK citizens affected by poverty, and very compelling, because of the impressive official and other sources of evidence on which his report was based. Unfortunately, the government’s response to the Report has been rather dismissive.

As a small Quaker Meeting, we continue to allocate a percentage of our funds for those organisations that are working locally and elsewhere to reduce people’s suffering. We would like to think that at the same time, the government is giving priority to help those in our society who are in real need.

Therefore, we request you, firstly, to remind government ministers and Parliament, of the contents of Prof Philip Alston’s Report; and secondly, to encourage further serious discussion of the Report, so that ministers and parliament can give it the attention it deserves.

We would be grateful for your response to this letter and in particular confirmation of your willingness to raise with government ministers and Parliament, the need to focus on the issues and recommendations set out in the 2018 UN Report on Poverty and Human Rights in the UK.

Your sincerely,

 

Michael Grabowski,
Co-Clerk, on behalf of the Clerking Team

(1) Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights London, 16 November 2018.

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Please see Mark Lancaster’s reply by pressing on the following link…

Response from Mark Lancaster MP

Letter from Amber Rudd MP (page1)

Letter from Amber Rudd MP (page2)

 

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MILTON KEYNES QUAKER MEETING

The Quaker Centre
1 Oakley Gardens
Downhead Park
MILTON KEYNES
MK15 9BH

24TH April 2019

Iain Stewart, MP
The House of Commons
Westminster
LONDON SW1

Dear Iain Stewart,

Poverty in the UK

At our Business Meeting held on 3rd February, Milton Keynes Friends considered initiatives that Quakers in the UK were taking, to highlight the increasing inequality which is evident in UK society. Friends acknowledged that structural forces are at play, which result in considerable poverty and need in the UK. We agreed that we should take up the matters of inequality and poverty with our members of Parliament.

We warmly welcome the recent statements made by the Minister for Work and Pensions acknowledging that the changes to Universal Credit were a factor contributing to the rise in the use of Food Banks. The increasing number of Food Banks in the UK is itself evidence of the growing distress and suffering for people on low and no incomes.

Changes to Universal Credit were recommended by the UN Special Rapporteur, Prof Philip Alston, who in 2018, drew attention to the failings of the UK’s welfare system in the most graphic terms. He also highlighted the widespread awareness of the problems of poverty in the UK:

‘The country’s most respected charitable groups, its leading think tanks, its parliamentary committees, independent authorities like the National Audit Office, and many others, have all drawn attention to the dramatic decline in the fortunes of the least well off in this country’(1).

You will know that his succinct report was both very moving, in terms of the first- hand testimony he gathered from UK citizens affected by poverty, and very compelling, because of the impressive official and other sources of evidence on which his report was based. Unfortunately, the government’s response to the Report has been rather dismissive.

As a small Quaker Meeting, we continue to allocate a percentage of our funds for those organisations that are working locally and elsewhere to reduce people’s suffering. We would like to think that at the same time, the government is giving priority to help those in our society who are in real need.

Therefore, we request you, firstly, to remind government ministers and Parliament, of the contents of Prof Philip Alston’s Report; and secondly, to encourage further serious discussion of the Report, so that ministers and parliament can give it the attention it deserves.

We would be grateful for your response to this letter and in particular confirmation of your willingness to raise with government ministers and Parliament, the need to focus on the issues and recommendations set out in the 2018 UN Report on Poverty and Human Rights in the UK.

Your sincerely,

 

Michael Grabowski,
Co-Clerk, on behalf of the Clerking Team

(1) Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights London, 16 November 2018.

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