Build Back Better – a rallying cry or an empty slogan?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has sent shockwaves through society and the economy as the biggest crisis we’ve been through since the second world war. 

High-Rise provides communications support to many arts organisations, charities and social enterprises – organisations who help contribute to stronger communities. Many have had to furlough staff and are now wondering what the future holds – for their own organisations and the people they support and help.

It’s the poorest who have been hit hardest by COVID. Rates of infection and death are highest in vulnerable and BAME communities. Job losses and poor health mean many people are unable to pay rent, to afford essential heat and energy, or simply to put food on the table. Without concerted action our social divides are only going to get worse as the economy reels in the aftermath of the virus and we face a new period of recession and austerity.

But there are stories of hope shining through. Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford successfully petitioned government to extend free school meals through summer, helping 1.3 million children stay fed in the UK. Pollution levels have dropped and more people are questioning why we prioritise cars over people in our towns and cities. More people are investing in a way that helps the climate – and realising shifting their pension can help tackle climate change.  The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden has said he recognises the importance of theatres, musicians and performing arts to our communities.

People power, the fight for governmental and systemic change, and innovation can prevail. As we begin to look ahead to what society and the economy might look like in a future after coronavirus, there’s one question we’re all asking. What can we do to be better than we were before? 

‘Build Back Better’ has become a rallying cry used by organisations, charities and businesses for the meaningful, lasting changes that will ensure a more sustainable, resilient future for people and the planet. But what can Building Back Better look like? 

There’s no magic bullet, but we can all do our bit to fight for a better world.