Social Justice

UK needs radical change to address inequality, experts say

Archbishop of Canterbury among the figures calling on the government to find a new economic model

The government may hope Britain’s ailing economy simply needs a few nudges forward.

But a panel of top economists and leading civil society figures thinks it needs of a complete change in direction to address poverty, inequality and sluggish productivity.

The IPPR’s Commission on Economic Justice – a group that includes Sir Charlie Mayfield of John Lewis and the Archbishop of Canterbury – has warned that the economy is suffering from “deep and longstanding weaknesses.”

The commission’s “Time for Change” report makes for grim but necessary reading, with the experts describing the UK “unfit to face the challenges of the 2020s.”

Our economic model is broken

It finds that UK is the most geographically unbalanced economy in Europe. It also finds that the UK’s productivity levels are among the lowest of advanced economies, and remains one of the most unequal countries in terms of wealth distribution in the western world.

Although the unemployment rate remains low, the labour market has become increasingly insecure and casualised, and the share of national income in wages has been in decline ever since 1970s.

“Our economic model is broken,” said the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. “Britain stands at a watershed moment where we need to make fundamental choices about the sort of economy we need.

“We are failing those who will grow up into a world where the gap between the richest and poorest parts of the country is significant and destabilising,” he added.

Although the study is only an interim report, and the panel will make full recommendations next year, the IPPR’s assembled experts believe the government must draw a line under the “muddling through” that has since held since the banking crisis of 2008.

A radical new approach is now needed

They have called on policymakers to consider a new industrial strategy, reform of the banking sector and corporate governance, and new measures to spread wealth more fairly.

“The persistent economic problems we have experienced since the 2008 financial crash won’t be fixed with a bit of tinkering,” said Tom Kibasi, the IPPR director and chair of the commission.

“There is a growing consensus across business, trade unions and civil society that a radical new approach is now needed.”

Watch the Pride special collection.

Our LGBTQ+ film playlist offers a new and interesting angle on LGBTQ+ love and struggle – giving an international overview by taking us inside some of the most and least sexually liberated countries in the world.  

Sign Up Now

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Amy's Place: How a 'beautiful' housing project giving hope became Amy Winehouse's real legacy
Housing

Amy's Place: How a 'beautiful' housing project giving hope became Amy Winehouse's real legacy

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
Cost of living crisis

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

My cousin was killed in front of his six-year-old son. I need to get my family out of Gaza
Gaza/ Ahmed
Israel-Gaza war

My cousin was killed in front of his six-year-old son. I need to get my family out of Gaza

'Helpless' UK residents call for Home Office to help get families out of Gaza: 'We feel betrayed'
gaza
Israel-Gaza war

'Helpless' UK residents call for Home Office to help get families out of Gaza: 'We feel betrayed'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know