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Economic Justice

RSA launches Citizens Economic Council to tackle the UK’s “broken economic debate”

Playing fast and loose with economic forecasts and statistics has eroded public trust and created a democratic deficit, according to the RSA, which has launched a new programme to tackle the UK’s broken economic debate.

The RSA Citizens’ Economic Council (CEC) will give a diverse group of 50-60 people, the ability to be able to engage with economic policy and confidently express their views. It will directly address widespread disillusionment with the UK’s economic debate, exemplified by the EU referendum campaign – which marked a new low in the abuse of economics in political debate – and the lack of transparency and honesty in the way that economic issues are presented to the public.

The programme aims to improve economic literacy, given recent research showing only one in five felt well informed about the EU referendum and most people lacked confidence in understanding how the economy works. The RSA believes this economic literacy gap causes a democratic deficit due to the huge influence economic policy has on every area of citizens’ lives.

Activities include the world’s first deliberative engagement process focused on a national economy; an online economics course open to all; and an economic inclusion roadshow targeting hard to reach communities.

Over the next eighteen months, the CEC will explore economic theories and consider their implications, debate what our shared goals and priorities for the economy should be, and will rigorously assess new economic policies for their ability to deliver on these goals.

Describing the role of the CEC, Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA said “‘The EU referendum demonstrates that policy makers need to broaden the agenda on engaging the public. We believe that a more deliberative and discursive model, through the RSA’s Citizens’ Economic Council, is a timely intervention to illustrate how this could be achieved”.

Barrow Cadbury Trust is supporting this work along with the Friends Provident Foundation.