The cost of living crisis – hot on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic – has us all talking more about money. The price of food in the shops, the cost of our public services, the vast inequalities in our society. Money is a hot topic – but it can be hard to know where to start in understanding finance and economics, let alone doing anything about it.
Money shapes the world around us, for better or worse. The JustMoney Movement provides a range of resources and opportunities for action to enable individuals, congregations and meetings to connect your own finances to efforts to shape a fairer world.
This might include considering whether your bank account or pension fund is supporting fossil fuels or the arms trade. Or whether you are doing your shopping from companies that pay fair and responsible levels of tax and pay their workers a decent wage. If you have investments, you can choose for them to have an impact on communities for the better, aligning with your faith and your values. Quakers have often been at the forefront of such thinking and action, but it can still be hard to know where to find the latest information and how to practically make a change – you can start at our Money Makes Change hub.
Shaping a fairer, greener world
The JustMoney Movement relaunched in November, having been previously called the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR). We have a long tradition of working across the UK denominations, and Quakers have been at the heart of our education and campaigning activities for many years, including partnering with us in a website on faith and finance that was a precursor to the Money Makes Change programme.
Our campaigns on how money could shape a fairer, greener world include our Church Action for Tax Justice programme. In the UK inequality has risen so that the top 1% of households now have 230 times the wealth of the bottom 10%. We are calling for a wealth tax – tackling this inequality so that those with the broadest shoulders contribute a fairer share in tax, increasing the revenue available for the NHS and schools, to tackle the climate emergency, and repair our social safety nets.
Over the past year we've seen some progress – we helped lobby for (admittedly limited) windfall taxes that the Government introduced on fossil fuel companies who have made such obscene profits from energy prices, and we saw the formation of a new parliamentary group to investigate wealth taxes. There is still time to sign our letter to the Chancellor calling for a wealth tax here.
Prioritising the wellbeing of all
The cost of living crisis is the latest brutal manifestation of a system that prioritises profit and growth over the wellbeing of all. We must challenge this – we need a broader movement willing to speak out for changes in policy and make different financial choices ourselves that align with principles of protecting the vulnerable, seeking the common good and caring for the natural world.
At the JustMoney Movement we believe that we can have more impact by joining together in speaking out for a just use of money.
Right now we are looking for trustees from across the UK denominations to serve on our Board of Trustees, and we're particularly keen to reach interested Quakers with this opportunity. We're also looking for people to join our Church Action for Tax Justice committee. You can find out more and apply via our website (closing date: 28 February) or do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.