A response to the budget update on 8th July 2020.
The Chancellor’s budget update yesterday focused on building
employment. The scale of the challenge ahead is huge, and an emergency response
is welcome and necessary. But if we genuinely want this crisis to be a turning
point, where we build an economy that puts the wellbeing of all people and the
planet at the centre, much more radical changes are needed.
The number of children needing help from foodbanks has
doubled since the coronavirus crisis began. There is an irony that these
families, who need food the most, will be excluded from the government’s
largest ever subsidised food programme announced this week.
Our economy is designed in a way that creates many such
ironies where the greatest help and opportunity if offered to those who need it
least. This budget statement with big tax cuts and grants for those with enough
money to buy houses falls into some of these same traps.
As Churches, we long for the flourishing of all people and
the wellbeing of the planet. But an economy obsessed with ever increasing
property and share prices is standing in the way. The pursuit of economic
growth and ever-increasing consumption is increasingly leaving many behind and
our planet is being gravely damaged in the process. Simply patching up the
economy after the crisis and carrying on should not be an option – but this
statement has left us on that trajectory.
It is irrefutable that climate
change is an emergency that demands immediate action. The measures introduced
by the Chancellor to improve energy efficiency and create more green jobs are a
welcome start. But it is not yet clear if measures of the scale necessary are
The chancellor may have judged
that this was not have been the time for radical measures. But the Autumn
budget certainly is.
There is a movement of people across the UK and beyond who
are working towards this kind of transformation, where our economy can serve
the wellbeing of all people and the planet. Communities and businesses are already
working to move from simply reducing their environmental impact to having a
positive effect on their environment. Some are even moving from a goal of
ever-increasing market wealth to providing both decent employment alongside
sustainable products and services.
We urge the Government to be courageous, to join in with this vison and to use the enormous levers of government spending, regulation and monetary policy to point our economy in a new direction, where all people are offered the chance to thrive.
As Churches, we long for the flourishing of people and the wellbeing of our planet. As we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, we find ourselves at a critical moment where we could re-shape the economy to enable the wellbeing of all people and the planet. Read more about our vision to re-engineer the economy to deliver a just and sustainable future here.