Lord Alton backs Natalie’s book on poor

Natalie Williams, with Lord David Alton, and Martin Charlesworth
Natalie Williams, with Lord David Alton, and Martin Charlesworth

An author from Hastings has launched a book that examines the attitudes to poverty in Britain today from a Christian perspective.

Natalie Williams co wrote the book with Martin Charlesworth, a church leader from Shrewsbury.

Entitled The Myth of the Undeserving Poor, it was launched last week at Westminster Central Hall by Lord David Alton of Liverpool.

Lord Alton said: “The authors of the The Myth of the Undeserving Poor book, Martin Charlesworth and Natalie Williams, have written boldly and passionately.

“They have analysed the emerging media narratives. They have looked again at the history of tackling poverty in the UK. They have analysed both the theology and the practice of the current upsurge of church-based social action.

Most searchingly of all, they have challenged the ‘myth of the undeserving poor’. They argue, rather, that both church and society respond best to poverty when we do not allow ourselves to be imprisoned by dubious and highly subjective moral judgements concerning the poorest in our society. I commend this publication to help challenge the thinking of not only people of faith but also the media and policy-makers.”

Around 50 people attended the event, including Stephen Timms MP and Fiona Bruce MP, church leaders from various cities in Britain, representatives of Christian charities such as the Evangelical Alliance, Tearfund and Clean Sheet, and journalists. Natalie, a communications specialist and former journalist, said: “We were concerned about the influence of media narratives on poverty in Britain today – particularly the divisive ‘strivers versus skivers’ narrative – but we knew we needed to back up our commentary with research, so we examined 390 articles from January 2014. Our most troubling finding is that it is incredibly rare for those in poverty in Britain today to be given a voice by mainstream media outlets.”

The Myth of the Undeserving Poor is the first book by Jubilee+, a Christian organisation that equips churches across Britain to make a positive difference in their local communities, especially serving those in need. The book is available in hard copy and for Kindle at Amazon.

For more information about The Myth of the Undeserving Poor and to purchase the book visit: www.mythoftheundeservingpoor.co.uk.