The Hope Charter has its origins in a church-led initiative in Merseyside that was a response to the increasing funding crisis that our city region is experiencing.
Irrespective of our view on funding cuts for local authorities, many citizens do not realise that these disproportionately affect areas of significant social need. Given that one of the largest expenditure items for Local Authorities is social care, the impact on the vulnerable is obvious.
The Liverpool city Region will be significantly impacted by forthcoming funding cuts and it is those who need and rely on social care who are likely to be the most impacted. While responding to this challenge, Liverpool does not want to simply “compete” with other parts of the country, but to bring people together across the socio-economic spectrum, to recognise that this is a concern and a matter of justice for all of us.
The Hope Charter began as an initiative to highlight this reality, with no expectation that it would coincide with an election campaign. In the light of current reality, we have amended our plans somewhat, and are suggesting that parliamentary candidates are invited to sign the charter to indicate their support.
We are not seeking to make direct comment on the general principle of funding cuts. We believe that many UK citizens will be surprised to discover that these cuts are not evenly spread, and would support a different approach to distribution. We sense that many responsible citizens would be as alarmed to discover that they unfairly benefited, as they would if they were unfairly disadvantaged.
We believe that the rising cost of providing social care is unavoidable and needs and approach that is not so directly vulnerable to general funding formulae and policy.
This particular campaign is an expression of our more general commitment to welcome vulnerable people as valuable members of our community, that we want to see cared for well.
We celebrate and affirm the work of political and community leaders who see the care of everyone as a key aspect of their responsibility. While we want them to use resources responsibly, we also want them to have the resources they need.
This is a Church led initiative, but we are seeking to stand with our city leaders and speak for all people in our region and beyond.