The general election: a call to action

Date Published: 04 Jun 2024
Hand posting a voting paper into a ballot box

With so many complex social problems currently affecting people locally – and on the horizon too – it can be hard to know how to most effectively participate in the forthcoming general election to help.

As the date of the general election draws nearer, here’s a blog from our director Patrick O’Dowd…


As the 2024 UK general election approaches, it’s crucial for every citizen, especially Catholics and all advocates for social justice, to recognise the profound impact their vote can have. At Caritas Salford we urge all Catholics and those seeking to support those experiencing poverty and who are marginalised to engage in this vital democratic process. Voting is not just a civic duty; it is a moral imperative and an opportunity for the practical expression translating the social teachings we believe into practical action; upholding human dignity, an option for the poor, solidarity, and the common good.

Close up of the clock and blue sky

Why this election matters

Elections are pivotal moments that shape the direction of our country. The leaders and policies chosen will influence every aspect of life, from housing and healthcare to education and social services. As a Catholic charity, we see voting as a moral obligation rooted in our faith. The Church teaches us to prioritise human dignity and social justice, to care for vulnerable people, to promote the common good and care for creation. By participating in the electoral process, we can ensure these values are reflected in government policies.

The power of your vote for people who are marginalised

Those experiencing poverty, discrimination, and disadvantage often have the least influence over the political decisions that affect their lives. By voting, we can accompany them in solidarity enabling their voice to be heard and acted upon. Due to the nature of our work and experience, Caritas Salford has worked to highlight particular policies that provide adequate housing, ensure access to essential services, prevent hardship, and remove the stigma associated with poverty and marginalisation. More importantly, we share the vision of Pope Francis who reminds us: “We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family.” (Laudato Si’, 52).

Housing: A foundation for dignity

“The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 203).

A secure home is fundamental to human dignity and wellbeing. Many people in Greater Manchester and Lancashire lack safe, stable housing. Caritas Salford is committed to ending the use of unsupported temporary accommodation, rough sleeping, and shared sleeping spaces. We advocate for reforms in the private rented sector to ensure safe, affordable, quality housing and urge the government to build more sustainable and truly affordable social housing.

Access to essential services

“The needs of the poor take priority over the desires of the rich; the rights of workers over the maximisation of profits.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 182).

Barriers to accessing crucial services such as healthcare, mental health support, and education further entrench poverty and marginalisation. At Caritas Salford we have highlighted the need for increased access to health and social care for homeless people, better mental health services for children, and accessible health services for refugees and people seeking asylum. We also support the provision of English language classes to help refugees and people seeking asylum to integrate and thrive.

Prevention and early help

“The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbours, the more effectively we love them.” (Caritas in Veritate, 7).

Preventative measures and early interventions are essential to addressing poverty and disadvantage. Caritas Salford advocates for a strategic approach to poverty reduction, early help for children in schools, and effective homelessness prevention strategies. We also call for safe, legal migration routes that protect human dignity and prevent exploitation.

Removing stigma and discrimination

“To love someone is to desire that person’s good and to take effective steps to secure it.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 178).

Discrimination and stigma exacerbate the challenges faced by marginalised people. We work to change public perceptions and attitudes, particularly towards those experiencing poverty, homelessness and migration. By increasing awareness and understanding, we can foster a more inclusive and compassionate society. We also support ‘poverty proofing’ in schools to ensure equality of opportunity so that all children can participate fully and without stigma.

Accessibility for all

“Human dignity is the same for all human beings: when I trample on the dignity of another, I am trampling on my own.” (Fratelli Tutti, 106).

True inclusivity means removing barriers that prevent full participation in society. We embrace the Human Rights model of disability, which views disability as a natural part of human diversity. We advocate for the removal of barriers to accessibility and believe that ensuring accessible services benefits everyone. Accessibility should be a collective responsibility, making society more functional and enjoyable for all.

How to get informed and get involved

To make an informed decision, it is essential to learn about the candidates in your area and their position on issues that matter to you and to those who are most vulnerable in society. You can get informed by attending local hustings (or holding your own), reading candidate manifestos and engaging in respectful discussions.

As part of our work, we have curated a series of different resources based on Catholic social teaching and current social issues to help offer guidance on the critical social issues at stake. These are from a range of sources including other Catholic charities, other faith-based collaborations or coalitions we are involved in or secular agencies with whom we have a long-standing membership or partnership with due to their credible and positive leadership with that aligns with our mission and values.

Caritas Social Action Network

Caritas Social Action Network: Do Justice

Together with Refugees

Homeless Link

Let’s End Poverty

End Child Poverty

Children at the Table

Families Together

Catholic Bishops’ Conference

Joint Public Issues Team

Centre for Catholic Social Thought and Practice

Sign that reads polling station

Get ready to vote

You can also ensure that you are registered to vote and know where your polling station is located. The deadline to register to vote in the forthcoming general election is Tuesday 18th June, 2024. You can see if you’re eligible to vote here:

You can encourage your friends, family, and community members to do the same. Remember, you will also need to have Voter ID. To learn about what you need or get a Voter Authority Certificate you can visit here:

As we approach the 2024 general election, remember that your vote can help build a society that reflects our shared values of compassion, dignity, and justice. Stand up for those who are often unheard and make your voice count. Together, we can work towards a more just society where the dignity of all people is promoted.


For more information on our advocacy efforts visit our policy and advocacy page or for information on how you can support our mission you can also contact us directly at

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