Economic Justice

The Barrow Cadbury Trust believes that economic systems should be fair. Financial networks and institutions should aim to build economic inclusion and not erode it. By exploring innovative ways in which financial systems can promote financial inclusion we can spread creative solutions and encourage new conversations and partnerships. We consider that financial resilience and inequality in communities can only improve if economic systems operate sustainably both at a macro and local level. In a period of reduced resources and capacity at statutory and community level, we are keen to build learning to strengthen local economies and to share best practice between a range of sectors, but particularly across local authorities.

Theory of change:

There is a growing gap between rich and poor in the UK, with increasing numbers finding themselves functionally destitute. Systems, policies and products for increasing the financial inclusion of the worst off are not fit for purpose. Barriers to change include vested interest, declining public spending, siloed approaches, short-termism and a disconnection between policy makers and people’s experiences. By working across traditional boundaries to harness good ideas, build partnerships and amplify the voice of those at the sharp end, we can create structural change to reduce inequalities.

To date we have:

  • Supported research and action that is building an inclusive economy in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands Combined Authority area;
  • Enabled the voices of those affected by poverty to be heard, and responded to, by those in positions of power;
  • Built a body of evidence highlighting the impact of austerity and Brexit on particular equality groups and/or communities on low incomes and made recommendations on how their lives could be improved by practical or policy interventions;
  • Worked with others to explore how new approaches or changes in banking regulation or policy, and financial products can improve the lives of people on low incomes or who are financially excluded.

Our objectives from 2016 to 2021 are to:

  • Influence national economic policy so that the gap between rich and poor is reduced and structural inequalities arising from gender or race are lessened.
  • Facilitate all sectors: statutory, private and voluntary to contribute to a healthy local economy in which all can flourish.
  • Ensure that the voices and experience of those with low wage/no wage are taken into account by those in positions of influence.
  • Support campaigning organisations to work increasingly together to develop joint approaches on economic issues.

We are particularly interested in the following areas:

  • Raising the profile and adoption of approaches that are designed to reduce problem debt, improve access to affordable credit and/or make savings easier for those on low incomes
  • Tackling systemic barriers to economic justice, for example low wage economies, unequal wealth distribution or inequalities linked to protected characteristics such as gender and race
  • Contribute to the body of theory or practice on community wealth building or inclusive economies
  • Enable the voices of those affected by debt and economic injustice to have their voices heard by decision-makers and those in positions of power

The Trust has historic links to Birmingham.  If your work is based in Birmingham and the Black Country, in addition to the priorities above we are also interested in:

  • Raising the profile and getting approaches adopted that are designed to reduce problem debt, improve access to affordable credit and/or make savings easier for those on low incomes
  • Tackling systemic barriers to economic justice, for example low wage economies, unequal wealth distribution or inequalities linked to protected characteristics (i.e. those protected under the Equality Act) such as gender and race
  • Contributing to the body of theory or practice on community wealth building or inclusive economies
  • Enabling the voices of those affected by debt and economic injustice to have their voices heard by decision-makers and those in positions of power

Programme-specific exclusions

  • New start-ups providing services to individuals

Making an application

If you think your work fits Barrow Cadbury Trust’s Economic Justice programme objectives, criteria and theory of change please complete an enquiry form.  We will aim to respond to your enquiry within 10 working days.

Please only fill in an application form if you have already discussed your project with us and we have asked you to complete a full application.


Key Contacts

Clare Payne

Economic Justice Programme Manager
Contact Me