Friday, June 29, 2012

Rev Paul Nicolson at Occupy, Canterbury

The Occupy Faith Conference Building a Just Society was held last week at Woolf Colllege, University of Kent at Canterbury. On the Thursday we had about a dozen speakers over 3 sessions of matters concerning economics and social justice. Covering organisational patterns, poverty & welfare, banking, credit creation; taxes on: income, land value, corporate profits and on wealth; markets; climate change, global development and global tax avoidance. It was gratifying to experience, 10 years after I wrote  The Free Lunch - Fairness with Freedom, the coming together of people of like mind, contributing with their own researches and experiences in the quest for social justice with many of the same themes as The Free Lunch. Occupy has given vigour and a platform to separate streams of reform and last week brought them together at Canterbury. This time we were inside an air-conditioned plush lecture theatre rather than in the open air in a white tent at Tent City University, St Paul's Cathedral (see 23 Nov)Alan Bolwell of Occupy Faith had organised a Pilgrimage for Justice from 7-19 June from St Paul's to Canterbury Cathedral. The conference followed. 

A complaint seen in the media is that Occupy doesn't know what it believes in . But from Robin Smith - Real Reform ,  Tax Justice Network , Zacchaeus 2000 Trust , Jubilee Debt Campaign , John Courtneidge  and others, came themes that run through The Free Lunch: debt cancellation, a radical tax shift from taxes on creativity to tax on land values, the alleviation of poverty, citizen's income for all, tax avoidance, etc. 

Rev Paul Nicolson spoke from long experience of helping alleviate poverty in London,  he is a founder member of Zacchaeus 2000 and Taxpayers Against Poverty . 
This on TAP Facebook:
TAXPAYERS AGAINST POVERTY was founded because we are all incensed by the coalition claiming it is unfair to the tax payer to pay high housing benefit to impoverished citizens when the problem is governments' lack of an affordable housing policy for decades.
A recent post:
TO MPs and Peers. 
There is a great and scandalous unfairness being imposed on the poorest and most vulnerable citizens of London. 
The most wealthy people, both from Britain, with their off shore tax free money, and from anywhere else in the world, are competing for London property, and enjoying UK capital gains and stamp duty tax exemptions. London..

Rev Nicolson spoke about poverty from knowing people who are really struggling to survive. It is not about balancing the household books but choosing whether you eat, heat, or pay the rent...with loan sharks always ready to help out with a eye-popping rate of interest on a loan. He gave an example of a failure to pay a TV licence on time (about £145) can lead to a £1000 debt from court fees, loan interest and bailiffs charges.  

The latest poverty crevasse into which even more people will plunge will be caused by the housing benefit cap and the 2013 Universal Credit Cap. The problem goes back to the deregulation of lending and the free flow of capital from abroad leading to the housing boom and the deregulation of rents, favouring landlords. Then came housing benefit caps penalising tenants. In Germany they have had rent capping since the peasants lost their land and interest is capped there and their statutory minimum incomes relate to research into minimum incomes for healthy living. For the UK, Rev Paul can give you the routemap for every twist in the downward path to increased poverty through government policies over three decades. Watch out for his letters in the press.

 Posted by Charles Bazlinton author:  The Free Lunch - Fairness with Freedom

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