The report quotes the Bible and says people should beware of worshipping false gods, "including such modern idols as political dogma or the market economy".
The list also includes the idea of the "jubilee" when "debts are cancelled and slaves are set free," and the need for people to show "a generous spirit, and not pursue economic advantage to the limit". It adds that only a just and caring society can achieve real, lasting prosperity and that both suffering and fortune should be shared.
Unemployment and poverty
Real unemployment is twice as high as the level shown in official figures, the report says. The number of people who had no job and who wanted one was around 4.5 million last summer, while government figures stood at about half that number.
Between 1979 and 1994, average household incomes rose by 40 per cent more than inflation, but for the poorest 10 per cent of households they fell by 13 per cent.
Society is divided between prosperous people and those who are unemployed or in temporary, insecure work. Most unemployed people desperately want work, and many become isolated and depressed.
The market should not be left to sort out the problem - that leads to low wages. The weakening of trade union power also explains the increase in poverty.
Although the public say unemployment is a great evil, public opinion has not been effectively mobilised to demand a remedy. "What is lacking is a sense of community, such as we had during the Second World War and for a generation afterwards."
Jobs should be created in the public sector, in health, education and community care, housing and construction. This should be paid for mainly through higher taxation: the ratio of tax to national income in Britain is lower than in most European countries. It could be raised without causing serious harm to the economy. "There is a Christian case for redistributive taxation, based on both justice and compassion, which we support," the report says.
Employers' National Insurance contributions could be cut, or abolished, for unskilled jobs. Real jobs in the community should be created, funded partly through public spending.
Fair pay and conditions
There should be a statutory minimum wage: "We find the very low rates of pay now being offered unjust and offensive to human dignity." Employees should have protection against unfair dismissal after a short period, probably a few months.
"We do not believe that the level of benefits paid in Britain today is generally adequate to support a decent standard of life." The only reasonable solution is to get people off benefit by increasing employment.
Who wrote the report
Chairman: Patrick Coldstream, former director of Council for Industry and HE
Exec Sec: Andrew Britton, former director of NIESR
Rev Bill Allen, director of pastoral studies at Spurgeon's College
Clive Brooke, joint-general secretary, PTC tax union
Margaret Burns, Council for Social Welfare
John Cole, former political editor, BBC
Gabrielle Cox, co-ordinator greater Manchester Low Pay Unit
Rev Erik Cramb, Industrial mission in Scotland
Ricky Davies, director of management services of Associated Church clubs
Alan Deacon, prof of social policy, Uni of Leeds
Kumar Jacob, Criterion Software
Dr Eleanor James, chair of Wales Rural Forum
Rev Dian Leppington, Industrial mission in Leeds
Rt Rev Dr Peter Selby, bishop-designate of Worcester
Tony Stoughton-Harris, dep chair of S Electricity
Dr Ntombenhle Protasia Khoti Torkington, sociologist, Liverpool Hope University College.
Chairman: Rt Rev David Sheppard, Bishop of Liverpool
Secretary: Ruth Badger, Board for Social Responsibility, Church House
Members: Marion Beales, Free Church Federal Council
Rt Rev Michael Bourke (C of E)
Ruth Clarke (United Reformed Church)
Ven John Davies (CYTUN - Churches in Wales)
Lady Marion Fraser (Church of Scotland)
Rev Robin Hutt (Methodist)
Rev Simon Jones (Baptist Union)
Rt Rev John Jukes (RC)
Hugh Mellor (Society of Friends)
Rev Mark Nicholson (Black Majority Churches)
Rt Rev Dr Gordon McMullan (Church of Ireland)Reuse content