Citizens’ Economic Council on the Cost of Living

The Citizens’ Economic Council was designed to give ordinary citizens a say on national economic policy issues. This meeting of the Council asked the question: how should government respond to the cost of living crisis? To answer, the project focused on the huge fiscal policy choices facing government and the impact of choices made on different households in the UK.

Over a series of sessions in spring 2023, participants learned about the issues, generated ideas and deliberated over alternative proposals and principles. The recommendations arising from the project were written up as a report for policymakers to reflect on and use in decision-making.

What is fiscal policy?

Fiscal policy refers to the government’s use of taxation, government spending and borrowing in order to pursue different policy goals such as boosting economic growth, lowering unemployment, changing the distribution of wealth around society, or coping with crises.

Often governments set ‘fiscal rules’ to try to set limits on how much government can spend, tax, or borrow, but recently these rules have been broken more often than not, raising questions about their usefulness.

Economic policy decisions taken now will affect every UK citizen for years and decades to come. That’s why it’s important to find new ways for citizens to be properly represented in the debate.
Christopher Holmes, Project Director
The democratisation of economic policy is crucial if people are to feel part of the important decisions economists make. Deliberating about issues such as the cost of living, tax, spend and investment is central to creating a more inclusive and participatory future for economics.
Reema Patel, Project Manager