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  • GPs increasingly witness suffering caused by the sanctions system
  • DWP refuses independent review

A coalition of national Churches and charities has criticised the Department for Work and Pensions over its refusal to undertake a full review of the benefit sanctions system. The DWP has issued its overdue response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into benefit sanctions, but has failed to commit to a review as recommended.

The Select Committee, the Government's own advisors, the Social Security Advisory Committee, charities and Churches have all called for a full independent review of the regime. These groups have highlighted the extreme hardship caused, the inconsistent and unjust application of sanctions and the lack of evidence that they encourage people into work.

Read more: DWP 'stubbornly ignoring' calls for sanctions review

It was a wonderful moment in the year 2000 when 189 of the world's leaders joined in signing up to the UN's millennium development goals. There were eight goals:

  1. to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. to achieve universal primary education
  3. to promote gender equality
  4. to reduce child mortality
  5. to improve maternal health
  6. to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. to ensure environmental sustainability
  8. to develop a global partnership for development

Women by roadside in IndiaGlobally, the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined by more than half, falling from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015
© 2011, Gonzalo Bell for International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)

With millennium enthusiasm running high, many of us hoped for enormous progress by 2015, the deadline for the goals; and indeed, much has been achieved.

Read more: UN Day: Sustaining development

coalThe media have been reflecting on the life of Denis Healey following his death at the age of 98. One of the most recognisable of Britain's money men, Healey was Chancellor of the Exchequer for five of the British economy's most difficult years in the 1970s.

He famously took out a loan from the International Monetary Fund. It later became my job to advise HM Treasury on the management of that loan.

The conflicting pressures on Healey as Chancellor were intense. He coped with them by drawing on what he called his "hinterland". He kept economics in perspective by keeping alive his passions for music, art, poetry and crime fiction. Money matters were for him always part of a bigger picture.

Read more: Good money week – an ethical hinterland

hopeinactionHope in action is a brilliant strapline for One World Week, combining two powerful words to describe what the week is about and inspire involvement in it.

It's the combination of those words that's important.

The rest of the strapline talks about 'inspiring a culture of hope to build a more equal and peaceful world'.

And this needs both hope and action.

Read more: Hope in Action: One World Week

450812 graham ghalebGraham Ghaleb

We celebrate the work and outstanding achievements of longstanding Church Related Community Worker (CRCW) minister Graham Ghaleb, who, on 31 October, retires after 28 years of service to the United Reformed Church through the CRCW ministry.

Since 1987 Graham has worked in a number of roles which included being a CRCW Development Worker from 1992 to 1998.

Read more: Community worker Graham Ghaleb retires