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Social injustice demands more holistic approach

Ian Parsley's opinion piece (Comment, September 2) examining poverty and social exclusion in Northern Ireland is to be welcomed.

In recent years a plethora of reports by a wide variety of think-tanks and governmental departments have highlighted the extent and depth of poverty across the province.

What Mr Parsley's article fails to give due weight to, however, is that social injustice requires a much more holistic approach if we are to see a transformed society that is fairer.

Policy innovation is also required in order to tackle a skewed income distribution created by the richest 10% of our society becoming disproportionately wealthier. A coherent and comprehensive approach to tackling income inequality is essential if we are to build a society that is fairer and more at ease with itself. The recently published report An Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK showed that, by 2007-8, the UK had reached the highest level of income inequality since shortly after the Second World War.

That income inequality in the UK is far in excess of the average of nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is a cause for great concern. We need to look at ways of dealing with social injustice, even when this means asking uncomfortable questions and grappling with contentious issues. Focussing on a limited number of factors in a complex equation will simply not work.

REV DR SCOTT PEDDIE and FOUR OTHERS

Church Action on Poverty Northern Ireland Committee

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