November 16, 2023
Introducing… HeadSpin! our parody game show which exposes the only real winners in this economy: big banks, fossil fuel giants, and landlords.
Right now, the game is rigged. Money is going to the wrong places and it’s fuelling the climate, housing and cost of living crises. But rules can change. Watch now to find out more.
Politicians constantly mislead the public about how our economy works by claiming there’s “no money left” or we must “balance the books”, but with a general election on the horizon it’s never been more important to share the truth. Whether it’s affordable homes, a green new deal, or nationalising public services – we created HeadSpin! to show people that there is enough money to pay for the things we really need.
We teamed up with Swarm Dynamics, an arts-based organisation full of animation experts focussed on communicating system change, to expose how our greed-fuelled economy isn’t working for ordinary people, and share solutions for a fairer future.
Over five and a half minutes, our host takes the audience through a range of questions which highlight the structural inequalities at play in our economy. From our broken housing system, dependence on fossil fuels, and the soaring cost of living, the crises the UK faces are huge and interlocking. And right now, rather than fixing them, the money in our economy is being directed towards activities that are making things worse.
A glimpse behind the scenes of the making of HeadSpin!
Cost of living
The main cause of soaring prices over the last two years hasn’t been a change in demand from us, but supply side shocks: namely, spikes in the international cost of fossil fuels. This effect is called fossilflation, (which alongside climateflation) will continue to send household bills soaring if we don’t get serious about boosting our domestic renewable energy levels. This is especially true in the UK, where our overdependence on dirty gas left us more exposed to these price spikes than other G7 countries.
Alongside the greed of corporations who have used this crisis to push up prices, and the big banks, who have received billions extra in profits thanks to soaring interest rates without having to lift a finger. That’s why we’re calling for a windfall tax on bank profits, which could bring in nearly £16 billion this year alone, to help those suffering most from this crisis. Add your name here.
Our host shares one statistic to capture the lunacy of our current housing crisis: the government is set to spend £11.5 billion over the next four years on its affordable house building programme – but it’ll spend over 4 times that amount on subsidising private landlords. We dived into the roots of our housing crisis in our report Banking on Property. Ultimately, it comes down to decades of government decisions which have turned our homes into financial assets – known as financialisation. This concept is well covered in a recent 2-part BBC documentary series, but they missed a vital third part of the story: solutions. We dive into a range of them here which aim to rebalance this broken system and ensure that everyone, whether renting, buying or sharing, can live somewhere safe, affordable and of decent quality.
Deal or No Green Deal
2023 is the worst year on record for climate disasters. In the coming years, billions of people risk losing their homes, livelihoods and lives, and yet in the last few months this government has rolled back on our national commitments to net zero. HeadSpin! highlights the backwards nature of our current money flows, with fossil fuel companies getting 91p of every £1 they pay in taxes via the Energy Profits Levy back – if they spend it on new oil and gas projects. While renewable energy companies are saddled with a 45% levy on their profits. The financial cost of filling the investment gap we need to get on track for climate is relatively low at 2 – 5% of GDP, while the human cost is priceless. There simply is no economy without a liveable planet. It’s time to rewrite the rules and design a green new deal for all.
HeadSpin also brings to life the revolving door between politics and big business in this country: the one which shuts out the voices of ordinary people, alongside the transparency and reforms we desperately need. When Justin, our game’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, loses his job in government, he quickly gets a new paid position in the financial sector – just like every single former Chancellor in the UK has done in the last forty years. To tackle this, we called for a ban on MPs having second jobs, a cap on political donations, and ten other recommendations to challenge the power of big finance in our 2022 report of the same name here.
Rewrite the rules of the game
Right now it’s clear who the current winners and losers in our economy are. But as our host reveals: the rules can change. In the next election, don’t accept claims that there’s no money for the things we need. The climate and cost of living crises have common roots: a financial and political system that chases shareholder profits over everything else.
The government doesn’t have to balance the books the same way a household does. Public investment in climate action, affordable homes and social care will actually save the public money in the future, alongside nationalising essential services like energy, trains and water. It’s not true that public ownership is more expensive; cutting out middlemen and unnecessary profit margins is an opportunity to save money, as well as reign in corporations who don’t have public interests at heart.
It’s time to rewrite the rules of the game and redirect money to build an economy that truly works for people, not profit. Share this film today to help others change the game.