Build Back Better to mend inequality
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain, is among 350 influential figures calling for the UK to 'Build Back Better' from the COVID-19 crisis, to be a stronger, fairer, greener country.
Their statement has been signed by leaders and representatives from faiths, business, charities and trade unions, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the Bishops of Manchester, Dover and Reading. It notes that the UK was underprepared for the pandemic and that “longstanding inequalities in our society have left too many vulnerable".
In recovery, there are questions for the UK government and society:
- “How to ensure health, social care, housing and other vital public services are properly resourced and able to meet our future needs.
- “How to mend the inequalities in our society so that everyone, no matter their background or race, can live a decent, fulfilling life.
- “How to create secure, well-paid and rewarding jobs for all who want them, particularly for young people.
- “And how not just to build our resilience to future pandemics, but to tackle the climate and environmental emergency already upon us."
Many organisations are using the phrase 'Build Back Better', including Greenpeace, Compass, the New Economics Foundation, the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, and the We Mean Business coalition of businesses working for climate action. Quakers are discussing what 'better' looks like: the Quaker Peace & Social Witness workshop 'Build Back Better: it's time for a new economy' was attended by more than 170 people, with participants sharing their thoughts on issues from basic income to community wealth building and the Green New Deal.
Paul Parker said: “Concern for equality and protecting the living world is at the heart of what Quakers believe, and underpins all our work. The call to 'build back better' is clearly resonating with many Friends, and we have had lots of interest in this emerging area of work.
“It is encouraging to see so many organisations coming together in support of a fair and green recovery from the pandemic, and I look forward to working with these allies to build a movement that can bring about real change."The full statement with signatories is here