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Economic Inequality and Church Responses in the UK

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Simon Perfect talks about his latest report for Theos which calls for churches to become vocal champions of greater economic equal

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The UK, along with the rest of the world, faces an unprecedented economic crisis due to the COVID–19 pandemic. The spread of the coronavirus is exacerbating deep inequalities, hitting the poorest the hardest. The UK already has one of the highest levels of income inequality in Europe, with the top 20% of households receiving nearly half of all disposable household income; and this is likely to get worse in the coming years. As we look to rebuild the economy, it is vital that we seize the opportunity to reduce inequalities of income and wealth.

Churches, and Christians more widely, have unique contributions to make here, going beyond their traditional focus on poverty. Economic inequality is a spiritual, as much as a social, problem: as Archbishop Justin Welby has said, it is “the most destabilizing and unjust feature of our own society”.

On 18th January, Theos researcher Simon Perfect will discuss these issues in an online event hosted by Justshare. Simon is the author of a new report for Theos, Bridging the Gap: Economic Inequality and Church Responses in the UK (2020). The report argues that after the pandemic, churches need to use their resources, both practical and theological, to become vocal champions of greater economic equality, leading the national conversation about building a fairer economy.

Simon will discuss the scale of economic inequality in the UK; the burgeoning body of social scientific research showing why high levels of inequality are bad for society; how Christian theology can help us think about the problem of economic inequality; how UK churches have already been responding to the issue, and what more they should be doing to help bridge the gap.

Simon Perfect

Simon is a Researcher at Theos. He is also a researcher and tutor at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where he leads distance–learning courses exploring Muslim communities in Britain and in other minority settings.

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