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World’s poor forced to pay for bank bail-outs

The poor and vulnerable are being forced to bear the costs of bailing out the banks, International Federation of Social Workers president David Jones told the World Conference on Social Work in Hong Kong.

Mr Jones, who is standing down as president after four years in the post, said he feared for social stability and the impact on family life globally.

“Social workers around the world are very angry to see social budgets being cut as a result of the bank bail-outs of recent years,” he said.  “It is outrageous that the people lecturing the world about the solutions to the financial crisis are the very economists and financiers who have led us into this mess.”

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Mr Jones helped launch proposals for a new world social agenda which responds to some of the major changes impacting on social work across the world.  These changes were:

·      Global financial crisis and economics;

·      Migration resulting from conflicts and economic pressures;

·      Health issues, including SARS and HIV-AIDS pandemics;

·      Environmental catastrophes and natural disasters.

Promising a global consultation to develop an action plan which would take social work through a difficult decade ahead, Mr Jones said it would provide a platform for engagement with the UN and other bodies.

“We are determined that the experience and voice of social work practice will be heard clearly all around the world,” said Mr Jones, who is a former general secretary of BASW.  “We know social work makes a world of difference and we will make sure that this is demonstrated where it counts.”