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Rev Jesse Jackson calls on MPs to give ‘Power to the Poor’

American civil rights activist, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, will be in London on Wednesday 20 October to back Christian Aid’s lobby of Parliament, aimed at moving climate change and global tax transparency up the political agenda.

Jackson, and Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell, will address a 2,000 strong crowd at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster at 11am. 

At 3pm Christian Aid supporters from over 350 constituencies will lobby their local MPs at the House of Commons, asking them to help secure stronger government action on climate change and international tax dodging by some unscrupulous multi-national companies. 

Reverend Jesse Jackson said: ‘We understand that times are hard, both in the US and the UK, but we are still better off than our neighbours in the developing world.  We are reminded that in the Bible's New Testament, Jesus teaches us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless.  So while we fight for jobs and peace and justice in the UK and the US, we must remember to keep hope alive for our brothers and sisters in Africa, in the Caribbean, in South Asia, and all those in need around the world.’

Paul Brannen, head of advocacy and influence at Christian Aid, said ‘October 20th is a very important day in the political calendar, and for the country.  The Comprehensive Spending Review will ensure the majority of MPs will be at the House of Commons, giving our supporters an ideal opportunity to lobby their local representative. With spending cuts afoot, and more than 200 new MPs, it’s vital we lobby them on the need for urgent action on climate change and tax dodging, both of which affect millions of people living in developing countries.  We also want to take this opportunity to thank the government for protecting the aid budget.  A test of a country’s commitment to helping eradicate global poverty can be seen by its actions when times are economically hard, even more so than in the good times.

‘We are delighted Jesse Jackson, an outspoken campaigner for social justice, will be joining us to help get our messages across to the British government.’

On climate change, Christian Aid is campaigning for rich countries to:

•  make it mandatory for companies to publicly declare their carbon emissions to an agreed standard
• demonstrate leadership in the urgent need to move towards a global low carbon economy

On global tax transparency, Christian Aid wants reforms that would:

• require companies trading internationally to reveal the profits made and taxes paid in every country where they operate
• ensure an automatic exchange of information between tax jurisdictions to counter the secrecy offered by tax havens. 

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If you would like further information please contact Karen Lobo-Morell on 020 7523 2404 / 07590 710 943 klobomorell@christian-aid.org or Claire Meeghan 020 7523 2318 / 07730 525 530. 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950  

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk