Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 10:33 UK

Bishop of Ripon and Leeds in warning on spending cuts

Rt Rev John Packer
Bishop Packer said he would study candidates' election literature

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds has entered the election fray by calling for policies which support "the weakest and poorest within our society".

The Rt Rev John Packer said the burden of any spending cuts must fall on those with adequate resources and not those "struggling with debt or unemployment".

He said he would be scouring election literature for "signs of hope".

Bishop Packer, who is a member of the House of Lords, said the Church should get involved in politics.

He told BBC Radio York: "Christians, church leaders, are involved with thinking through what a good society means; so are politicians.

"There is a good deal that binds us together in discussing and thinking about what is actually best for humanity."

In dealing with national debt I shall want the burden of cuts to fall on those of us with adequate resources
The Rt Rev John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds

Bishop Packer said he would be searching for signs of "a concern for those in most need in our society".

"So in dealing with national debt I shall want the burden of cuts to fall on those of us with adequate resources, and not those who have inadequate housing, who are unemployed or who struggle with debt," he said.

"I shall be looking for safe-guarding of foreign aid as we share our relative prosperity with countries facing famine or experiencing earthquakes.

"I shall be watching for a commitment to green policies to protect the environment.

"We need evidence that we are a welcoming society, and I hope candidates will adopt the 'Sanctuary Pledge' which affirms our desire to help those driven out of their own countries by fear."



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