Archdeacon of West Ham Elwin Cockett says as Newham prospers we must not let people get left behind


- Credit: Archant

So, London is booming, apparently. In Newham, construction work surrounds us, from Canning Town to Crossrail and the Olympic Park.

A wealthier, fitter, better-connected east London is on its way. So it’s right to give credit to all those – politicians, entrepreneurs and planners alike – who have achieved that.

But the picture is not all rosy. For those who aren’t in work, life can be hard. The cost of living is high here. There are more than 8,000 job-seekers in Newham, more than 1,600 of whom are under 25. That’s 160 coach-loads, which should concern us all.

Religion and politics don’t mix,” some say. But no religious leader can ignore the needs of people in the communities that we serve. In Newham, our faith communities have a great record of supporting those who have hit hard times. We have food banks, youth workers, lunch clubs, and countless other projects. We can be proud of that. But Desmond Tutu once said: “When you’ve fished enough people out of the river, it’s time to take a walk upstream and see who’s pushing them in.” So, it’s right for faith leaders to ask questions on behalf of those who are not sharing in the prosperity of London as a whole. Unemployment destroys hope, damages families and is bad for us all.

Amidst the successes, we must make sure that people don’t get left behind, whatever our faith.

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