Former Prime Minister and Moderator at cost of living emergency summit in Fife

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is one of the keynote speakers at an emergency summit to discuss the cost of living crisis is being held in Fife this weekend.
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The Poverty Hearing Day takes place at Wellesley Parish Church Centre in Methil on Saturday.

Mr Brown will be joined on stage by Very Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly 2020-21. It will be streamed live.

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Organised by Fife Presbytery, the event from 10:00am-3.30pm will feature powerful testimonies from people worst affected by a catastrophic increase in basic living costs.

Gordon Brown (Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) and Very Rev Dr Martin FairGordon Brown (Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) and Very Rev Dr Martin Fair
Gordon Brown (Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) and Very Rev Dr Martin Fair

Cuts in Universal Credit, inadequate uprating of benefits in the face of accelerating inflation and horrendous increases in the cost of energy is plunging low-income families further into poverty.

Mr Brown, the national Church of Scotland and other campaigners are calling on the UK Government to take urgent action to bridge the cost of living gap because the support being offered falls far short of making up for recent changes to living costs and benefits faced by a couple with two children.

The summit was originally scheduled to take place in September but was postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

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It comes as congregations across the country turn halls into warm hubs for people to visit during the day to keep warm.

Dr Fair said: “The church is committed to the Five Marks of Mission, the third of which is ‘to respond to human need by loving service.’

“Addressing poverty is where those fine sounding words become reality.

“While I hope there is consensus and unity of purpose among the delegates, let there be a simmering anger that our country continues to be so divided.”

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The summit is being spearheaded by Fife Presbytery's Poverty Task Force which is convened by Rev Jane Barron.

She said: "Many congregations and organisations in Fife have been working to help people trapped in poverty since the financial crash in 2008.

"We thought times were tough then but the recent and seemingly unending price hikes and soaring costs of the most basic items for survival are catapulting too many into Dickensian times and conditions.”

The event will be attended by representatives of other faith groups and a range of organisations that support people living in poverty will have stands so people can learn more about their work.

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Jacky Close, director of Faith in Community Dundee, will be taking part in the summit under the theme "One storm, many boats".

"Churches, Third Sector organisations, local councils and others are looking for ways to work more closely together than ever in a bid to offer assistance," she said.

"The Hearing Day is all about networking, sharing information and discovering ways of working better together against the evil that's eating at too many lives.

"Congregations, in particular, will be looking for hands-on ways to get involved and be part of what we hope is a growing, generous response."

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Mr Brown will highlight and discuss a new project he is backing called The Big Hoose Fife Project.

It ensures that surplus retail goods destined for landfill are given to low-income families instead.

The Wellesley Centre has seating capacity for 120 people and those interested in attending should RSVP by emailing [email protected].