Truth and Lies about Poverty

In 1753 John Wesley said, “So wickedly, devilishly false is that common objection, ‘They are poor, only because they are idle’.”

Yet today church-goers and the general public alike are willing to believe that the key factors driving poverty in the UK are the personal failings of the poor – especially ‘idleness’.

Truth and Lies about Poverty

Download Truth and lies about poverty

The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty

This report from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church lays bare six myths about the poor which enable the majority to live with the comfortable assumption that both poverty and wealth are deserved.

Download the full report Truth and lies about poverty

Tell your MP

Let your MP know that you care. We have sent a copy of this report to every MP in the country. Now they need to know that their constituents care about this issue. We want you to write to your MP – ask them to ensure that they read the report and listen to its recommendations. Email your MP now!

Tell your local newspaper editor

Use Church Action on Poverty’s web tool to ask the editor, journalists and readers of your local newspaper to think carefully about the labels they use – and the people behind those labels.

Meet your MP

Set up a meeting with your MP to talk about the issues raised in the report, and to ask them to help stop lies about poverty permeating public debate.

More resources

Truth and Lies references and data

Pocket guideTruth and Lies handy pocket guide

You’re stuck down the pub/cafe/watercooler with people repeating the old chestnuts they’ve read in the [insert name of newspaper]. But now you can pull out this handy pocket guide and refute those myths with facts. Print it out and stick it in your pocket. Or print a few and share them round.


spendShare the Truth and Lies Infographics

The true facts about poverty told in arresting images. Share them on Facebook, Twitter, or create your own.



Truth and Lies about Poverty

Use the Truth and Lies about Poverty Twitter avatar

Right-click the image and save to your computer, then edit your twitter profile and upload the image.

Please use the hashtag #liesaboutpoverty


Read real-life stories from people who have experienced poverty in the UK. Listen to Sarah’s story here.
Neil’s story here.

Resources for churches

Find a short list of helpful resources to help churches respond to poverty here

See Applecart’s short and sweet video Poor People – The Factual Facts based on the Truth and lies report.

Use or adapt this Powerpoint presentation to explain the Truth and lies about poverty report


On 7 June, churches and charities from all four nations of the UK, came together to write to the Prime Minister to ask that government ministers cease to say untrue things about those in poverty.

Read the full letter to David Cameron

  • Letter to Prime Minister docx and pdf
  • Appendix 1 explaining the errors in detail. docx and pdf
  • Appendix 2 outlining misleading coverage prompted by the claims. docx and pdf