Professor Prem Sikka, 16 May 2013
The outgoing Bank of England governor Mervyn King has presided over a huge economic crisis. His parting gift is the claim “a recovery is in sight” that the UK might achieve economic growth of even 1% this year. Despite this, the GDP will still be less than the 2007 figure.
Andy Hull, 8 May 2013
Our current land economy serves us badly. The landed are getting loaded through no hard work of their own, while too few ordinary people can afford a decent home. With no tax on empty land it can be more lucrative to acquire and hold onto swathes of land, watch its value rise as others invest in the area, and then sell it, than it is to develop it for people to live or work on. A Land Value Tax, targeted at unproductive wealth, could tackle this land-banking, spur the development of much-needed new homes, and help kickstart our ailing economy.
Howard Reed, 30 Apr 2013
As part of the ongoing Social State project, Howard Reed reflects on the macroeconomic significance of involuntary idleness. He argues that it is a waste of economic resources but one rooted in complex underlying causes. Drawing on a recent paper, he outlines ideas for how reform could be enacted and these difficulties overcome.
Hilary Wainwright, 9 Apr 2013
We are facing government policies of such inhumanity that if they are allowed to be carried through, we will look back in years to come with deep horror and shame. From the attacks on disability benefits to the bedroom tax, these measures return us to the kind of society where poverty was blamed on the poor and gross inequality was accepted as an economic inevitability. We urgently need to overturn this by forcefully challenging the myths that poison any attempts at progressive change today.
Professor Allyson Pollock, 26 Mar 2013
At 2.36 on the afternoon of Tuesday 27 March, 2012 the Health and Social Care Bill 2011, repealing the legal foundations of the NHS in England, was given royal assent and became law. Campaigning groups, NHS staff and professional organisations had fought for nearly 2 years against what must count as one of the most regressive pieces of UK legislation of the last 60 years. That the bill became law in the end is testimony not to our robust democratic processes but to the autocratic power of government. The coalition came to office in May 2010 on a manifesto promising no further top-down reform of the NHS, and then promptly did the opposite.
Stefan Stern, 22 Mar 2013
Well, that wasn’t terribly edifying, was it? I suppose we knew not to expect an exercise in humility from George Osborne. But a less defiant tone, with wages stagnating, with benefits cuts looming and growth nowhere to be seen, might have been a better option for him.That was the budget speech of a chancellor who is trapped – by his own rhetoric and weak political situation.
Ann Pettifor, 20 Mar 2013
The Treasury plans to cut £2.5bn of current spending from several government departments – and transfer the money to another pot, for investment in infrastructure. Davey and the cabinet appear to believe that these meagre savings, which do not represent additional spending, when applied to ‘infrastructure investment’ will help restore Britain’s economy to health. To believe this they have to be oblivious to the scale of Britain’s economic failure.
Stewart Lansley, 19 Mar 2013
In tomorrow’s budget, the Chancellor is set to plough on with a fourth year of his economic experiment – a mix of super-charged austerity and hope for the best. The outcome is all too predictable - the economy will continue to falter, living standards will carry on sliding and investment will stay at near-historic lows.
Kate Bell, 14 Mar 2013
Beveridge believed that want – or poverty as we would today understand it – would be one of the easiest of the five giants to slay on the road to reconstruction, compared to the task of eliminating disease, squalor, ignorance and idleness. Seventy years on we’re a long way from achieving that goal. This failure can be seen as one of politics as much as policy. Kate Bell discusses some of the issues around policies towards poverty in her new paper for Class.
Duncan Bowie, 7 Mar 2013
The 2008 recession should have generated a major rethink of housing policy by socialists and progressives. An opportunity was missed. It is even more important now for the Left to devise a strategy which focuses on meeting the housing needs of lower income households as well as the aspirations of the squeezed middle, and to demonstrate that both from an ideological and practical perspective, the left has a distinct position from the Coalition and a position worthy of drawing electoral support.
Stefan Stern, 28 Feb 2013
Is it surprising if “difficult” stories such as benefits cuts and changes to tax credits get mangled or downplayed by the media? There must be a risk that, as salaries at the top in media have risen, a career path has opened up that rewards a certain compliance with the status quo. These are interesting times indeed, and some traditional power bases are in more trouble than they perhaps realise, or would like to admit.
Steve Hilditch, 27 Feb 2013
The ‘bedroom tax’ is not only a vicious attack on some of the poorest people in society, it is also an example that the politics of class is still relevant in Britain today.
Zoe Williams, 27 Feb 2013
We can retake the vision and ambition of Beveridge’s project. However, it can’t be revivified on its own terms – different principles have to be underlined. Beveridge didn’t create the Welfare State from nowhere – he created it by articulating the dangers of a life without it. So what are the Evil Giants of today?
Sarah Glenister, 30 Jan 2013
It is shameful that so little has been done to acknowledge the scandal of blacklisting and scandalous that even less has been done to compensate those who have suffered from this vile practice. Last week the Institute of Employment Rights released a comprehensive resource document on blacklisting.
Tony Clements, 22 Jan 2013
Housing has moved rapidly up the political agenda over the past year or so. And it’s about time too. The lack of housing creates complex social problems but the solution however is simpler - we need to build a lot more homes. To do this quickly though, we must free councils to build once again at scale.
Lisa Nandy MP, 17 Jan 2013
The Welfare Up-Rating Bill, which had its second reading last week, is a miserable piece of legislation which imposes a 1% cap on tax credits and benefits over the next three years, casually increasing poverty amongst the working poor and the unemployed while seeking to demonise millions of people who have fallen victim to the Government’s failed economic policies.
Joy Johnson, 17 Dec 2012
The council of one of the major cities in the north east is beggaring its culture programme with a proposed cut in funding to zero. Joy Johnson argues culture, and the artistic and ethical importance of 'cultural industries' are such that they can’t just be left to the markets.
Stewart Lansley, 12 Dec 2012
Over the last year, inequality has been racing up the political agenda. Wages have been squeezed in favour of profits and living standards for most have fallen well behind GDP growth. Yet more and more opinion is now coming to accept that economic stability and durability depends on linking living standards more closely to growth. This decoupling is also a key explanation for the current paralysis.
Andrew Fisher, 28 Nov 2012
The welfare state is subsidising exploitative low-paying employers and wealthy landlords. So, when you hear the phrase ‘welfare scrounger’, don’t imagine a single mum on a council estate or a young unemployed man in a B&B. Instead think of well-suited landlords with property portfolios, hiking up rents because 'the market' allows them to, or a chief executive counting his bonus while his staff on minimum wage get another pay freeze.
Richard Blogger, 28 Nov 2012
Want, Ignorance, Idleness, Squalor and Disease. Of these five ‘Giant Evils’ identified by Beveridge the most important is the last one: disease. If you are sick or infirm the problems of the other four evils are amplified and become insurmountable. An effective welfare state puts health first, and for that reason the NHS is the most important part of our welfare state.