Today’s financial news make for gloomy reading. Not only has the UK suffered the worse recession in the G7 nations, it is also the worse recession in UK history. The news is grim for employment too, with thousands of workers being laid off or taking voluntary redundancy in the wake of COVID-19.
Financial security in these times can feel like walking on shifting sands day by day. As revealed by the Joint Public Issues Team, it is the poor who are being hit the hardest. The number of children being fed by foodbanks has more than doubled during lockdown.
A double-whammy of austerity measures, cuts in public spending, and the rise of the gig economy have not helped. With the rise of firms like Uber, the burden of risks and costs have been shifted from the employer to the worker,who is classed as self-employed. A good critique of businesses who view technology as a means of making profit with no sense of social responsibility can be read in last week’s Church Times article here.
So what can we as Christians do about this?
It may feel that we are losing power as big corporations increasingly seem to influence national policies and what the government decides to spend its money on.
However, there is hope that things can change and we do have power to make that change from the grassroots.
Your Faith Your Finance
Step 1 – get yourself informed!
Your Faith Your Finance is an excellent website which explains the ethical and spiritual issues around the use of money. It does not recommend specific ways of saving money or financial products. For example, do you want to avoid a bank that invests in products and businesses you consider to be unethical, or do you wish to save with a bank that supports ethical businesses? Or would you apply a mixed approach?
Step 2 – money talks
Think before you buy. Are you aiming to support local shops? Do you feel you have a duty to buy fairly traded products to support poorer countries? What impact does what you buy have on the environment or the well-being of the supplier? Like it or not destruction to God’s creation and poverty are linked together. More questions to think about can be found here.
Step 3 – help your neighbour out of poverty
1 Corinthians 12:26 reminds us that if one part of the body suffers, we all suffer. Do you know anyone who is worried about their finances or is burdened with debt? There are some great Christian organisations like Christians Against Poverty that have experts who can help. You can read more about them in our blog on Christians Against Poverty.
We can use our voice, our spending power and our vote to make a difference. There is hope. We have changed our spending power to make positive changes before. For example, over the last 10 years the production of goods containing CFCs which harm the ozone layer have dropped.
Changes to how we spend our money can be made. There is hope.