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Michael Meacher MP has agreed to host a meeting with us in the House of Commons on Poverty, Diversity & Equality. We want to look at how and if the growing inequalities in the UK and the growth in poverty are dangers to our richly diverse society.

Michael Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, was environment minister[masked]. He writes a daily blog on the political issues of the day on his website here (http://www.michaelmeacher.info). He is the author of The State We Need.

The UK is the world's six largest economy, yet 1 in 5 of the UK population live below our official poverty line, meaning that they experience life as a daily struggle. This means that over 13 million people in the UK do not have enough to live on, and most do not have the power to speak out about what this feels like and why it is wrong. These are not just unemployed people but also people in work and on low pay. Housing is a major issue here as many people on low incomes are being driven out of the housing market and social housing is in short supply.

What will be the short and long term impact on the stability of our society when our country is so divided? How can we avoid a future of communal conflict and what policies do we need to ensure this does not happen?

Chris Johnes has been Director of Oxfam's UK Poverty Programme since November 2011. Before that he was head of Oxfam Cymru (http://www.oxfam.org.uk/cymru/blog), leading both Oxfam's international campaigning and anti poverty work in Wales, developing a programme of work that has allowed Oxfam to enter the key debates on poverty and worklessness in Wales. Prior to moving to Oxfam Chris led the (Welsh) Communities First Support Network, a collation of eight organisations, as its national coordinator, supporting local community develop initiatives helping them to build relationships with and service providers. This has given him a deep understanding of the diverse factors driving poverty and the challenges public agencies face in responding to them.

We also hope to have three community speakers who will make short presentations about how poverty has impacted on them and the lives of their families.

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