Take back control with jury service – but for the economy – says the RSA

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Government judges what to do with the economy; the RSA wants juries too (Source: Getty)

The Treasury and the Bank of England should start a new “jury service” to formally involve citizens in economic decisions, according to an influential think tank.

British people should serve compulsory, paid terms on the “citizen juries” to allow them to shape economic policy, the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) will say today.

The radical move would allow citizens to “take back control over the big economic decisions”, the RSA said, in a deliberate echo of the slogan successfully used by the Vote Leave campaign.

Read more: At least our mandarins have managed to ‘take back control’

The juries would have the ability to question key officials, from Bank governor Mark Carney to chancellor Philip Hammond, on economic policy. The members of the citizen juries would be randomly selected, as they are in the courts system.

The RSA, whose head Matthew Taylor carried out a review of so-called gig economy jobs for the government, said it had received widespread support for the idea.

The Bank and the Treasury both engage extensively with experts and major institutions, but have faced criticisms particularly since the financial crisis began a decade ago of being out of touch with the majority of working people.

Read more: The Taylor Review paves the way for a new labour landscape

The Bank of England is currently attempting to broaden the reach of its communications, which have traditionally been limited mainly to figures in finance and economics, with visits to different parts of the country from key policymakers.

Reema Patel, programme manager for the RSA Citizens' Economic Council, which formed the plans, said: “The public don’t just want to be passive consultees but active decision-makers, taking back control of the economy.”

“By using randomly selected citizens’ juries, bodies like the Bank of England and the Treasury can better understand the public’s views on important issues such as the setting of interest rates as well as the decisions announced in the chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget on Wednesday.”

Read more: Jobs tsar warns MPs minimum wage rules would end gig economy

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