Quakers are working for a more equal Britain.

“We value that of God in each person, and affirm the right of everyone to contribute to society and share in life's good things, beyond the basic necessities."

Public Statement, London Yearly Meeting, 1987 (Quaker Faith & Practice, 23.21)

Quakers believe in a fundamental equality between all people. We work to challenge economic inequality and address its damaging effects.

On this page


    Taking action on economic inequality

    This short guide outlines five ideas for action Quakers and meetings can take to tackle economic inequality.

    Why is inequality a problem?

    "High levels of inequality are causing huge amounts of harm to our society"

    Helen Drewery, general secretary of Quaker Peace & Social Witness

    Britain is one of the most economically unequal countries in the industrialised world. Despite considerable progress made last century, inequality has been increasing since the late 1970s. Children in this country have vastly different life chances depending on their families' wealth. Inequality means great differences of quality of life, safety and influence between the richest and poorest.

    “We are angered that the United Kingdom now has a greater disparity in income than at any time since the Second World War."

    - BYM statement on equality March 2012

    This situation is unjust and damaging for individuals. It's also damaging for our ability to build thriving, cohesive communities. It diminishes us all.

    Studies show that more unequal societies have more health and social problems. They're less trusting, less altruistic, and have lower levels of happiness and social mobility. There is growing evidence to suggest that extreme levels of inequality also hurt our economy and our environment.

    The human and social cost of letting inequality continue to rise is incalculable. We need concerted and deliberate action to narrow the gap between the richest and the rest.

    Read more:

    How can we tackle inequality?

    “As we wrestle with the implications of our testimony to equality, Quakers feel called to act more radically to tackle the underlying causes."

    Meeting for Suffering, 7 April 2014

    There are lots of things that can be done to help build a more equal society.

    For example, Friends have held vigils, organised awareness raising events and six meetings have become living wage employers.

    In Scotland, Friends recent organised a successful symposium on tax justice, Creating a just Scotland. Hear speakers Leslie Riddoch, Richard Murphy and Andy Wightman MSP ideas on how a fairer tax system can be created.

    To get more ideas for action and think about what you can do see our guide to taking action on economic inequality (PDF) or visit the Quaker Action on Inequality Facebook page.

    Lancaster Quakers during Quaker equality week in 2015. Photo credit: Nick Morgan

    What are we doing about inequality?

    As well as supporting Friends to take action, Quaker Peace and Social Witness (QPSW) are working on behalf of all Quakers to call for:

    • a fairer, more progressive tax system
    • the transformation of Britain into a genuine living wage economy
    • fairer markets for basic goods and services such as food, finance and funerals
    • an effective social safety net

    Read our briefing Economic Inequality: A Quaker Concern (PDF).

    Defending our social security system

    Social security protects against the worst impacts of economic inequality and poverty. Quakers have been working with other churches and faiths to campaign against recent proposals which would further weaken our social security system. Read more about our work defending our social security system.

    Living Wage

    A living wage is a wage that is enough to live on. A genuine living wage would bring millions of people out of poverty. Read more about our work on the Living Wage.

    Contact us

    Olivia Hanks
    Economics and Sustainability Programme Manager
    020 7663 1037