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Radical policies for Rishi Could these modest proposals help kick-start our post-Covid economy?

The British government are worried about an increasingly anarchic monetary system Credit: Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

The British government are worried about an increasingly anarchic monetary system Credit: Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images


March 1, 2021   10 mins

Give everyone under 30 ÂŁ2,000 a month

Aris Roussinos, Contributing Editor

Like any good crisis, our year-long Covid confinement is as much an opportunity as a disaster. The stultifying political and economic consensus of recent decades has been swept away: across the West, states are returning to interventionist mode, backing industry and introducing policies that would have been dismissed as too radical just a year ago. In America, Mitt Romney’s widely-acclaimed proposal for state financial handouts for families shows just how quickly everything has changed — and also hints at the scale of ambition we should demand at home.

For multiple reasons, the state should support young families, but it’s the generation below them that have suffered most from Covid. Despite being at only an infinitesimally small risk of serious harm from the disease themselves, they’ve borne the brunt of lockdown, all to prolong the lives of the middle-aged and elderly.

That’s a generational imbalance that amplifies the already unfair discrepancy between the lifestyles of the young and those of their parents and grandparents. Born into a faltering global economy, with plummeting career and lifestyle prospects, destined for miserable lives as among the new precariat class, the young have already been dealt a raw hand. Unless we make radical changes now, they are unlikely to ever own their own homes, know secure, well-paid employment, or form stable family lives of their own.

This is deeply unfair for them, but it’s also a risk to Britain’s political stability. Much of the revolutionary fervour of recent years, from Corbynism to BLM, can be traced to the terrible prospects suffered by the millennial generation: the prospect of zoomer radicalisation against the system ought to be taken seriously, and averted before it’s too late.

So why not roll out a form of UBI to the young? Imagine everyone under 25, or even under 30, getting a no-strings-attached cheque for £2000 every month, at least until the economy stabilises. It would be an economic stimulus targeted at those who have begrudgingly put their lives, educations and careers on hold for the greater national good. With that financial cushion, they could start businesses, retrain for different careers, save up for mortgage deposits, or just pump the money back into the economy by going out and having fun. Youth only comes once, after all. The state should reward the young for their year-long sacrifice: not just because it’s fair, but also out of a sense of self-preservation.


Bring back the nation of shopkeepers

Mary Harrington, Columnist

The most recent unemployment rate, according to the ONS, is 5.1% — and the Bank of England expects the rate to peak in 2021 at around 7.75%. Sky was already estimating in August last year that 730,000 jobs had been lost due to coronavirus lockdowns and economic contraction. You’d think public bodies would be celebrating Brits’ inventiveness in finding new means of survival under such tough conditions. Not so much.

There’s been a boom in micro-kitchen businesses, as households with a good cook create and sell food either via local neighbourhood connections or social media. But far from lauding this innovation, the Food Standards Agency is horrified by what a spokesperson called a “concerning” explosion of “rank outsiders operating off the radar” without proper regulatory oversight.

The Conservative Party could support those hardest hit by the pandemic, while also furthering the naturally Tory love of entrepreneurship and personal responsibility. It could scratch the deregulation itch and rebalance our economy away from big business interests. There’s an obvious solution. Boris must slap down the Food Standards Agency and its ilk, and radically deregulate micro-businesesses.

It’s sensible to ask a commercial kitchen to obey food hygiene regulations, but holding a lemonade stand or home cupcake business to the same standard stifles entrepreneurship and imposes a regulatory burden on micro-entrepreneurs that simply isn’t called for. Instead of a thicket of rules, the thick nature of local connections works as a form of regulation by word-of-mouth. It’s a safe bet that if locally sold cupcakes are inedible, word will get round and the business won’t thrive. And if it thrives, and grows past a certain turnover, it can be regulated.

This shouldn’t just apply to food businesses but across the board. If I want to run a tiny grocery shop from my sitting room, why shouldn’t I do so without having to wrangle reams of paperwork on commercial and residential property?

Encouraging such enterprise would also help newbuild communities lose their box-fresh sterility. New housing is typically delivered by large developers, who rarely include retail premises in their plans. A flourishing, deregulated ecosystem of micro-retail operating out of private homes on newbuild estates would address this problem, while encouraging walkability, reducing car use, improving local community connections and widening opportunities for flexible working around childcare.

These benefits are all consistent both with a 20th century Tory pro-business mindset, as well as the 21st century Tory pivot toward environmental and community concerns. Deregulating microbusinesses would send a strong message about trusting, rather than nannying, the British public, as well as encouraging British resourcefulness. And it would signal a clear Tory shift away from a (frankly deserved) reputation as the party of big business toward being a demotic, popular party for ‘a nation of shopkeepers’.


Guarantee full employment

Paul Embery, Contributor 

“Unemployment is bigger than a political party. It is a national danger and a national scandal.” So said Labour MP Ellen Wilkinson, whose constituents of Jarrow famously trudged to London in 1936 in protest at the evil of joblessness.

As we emerge from the pandemic and the job support schemes come to an end, the prospect of mass unemployment is once again very real. History tells us that reliance on market-driven outcomes is never enough in such a scenario. When households and businesses are retrenching, it is incumbent on government — as the only actor in the economy with the power to do so — to step in and put things rights.

Tinkering at the edges would prove insufficient. We need, at this hour, a radical plan to prevent surging unemployment and the devastation that would accompany it. We need, in short, a jobs guarantee.

The government should commit to becoming an employer of last resort and provide a job to everyone who needs one — to pick up the slack where the market fails to deliver. There is no space in the looming jobs crisis for the failed nostrums of the past — embraced by leading politicians of all political stripes — which contend that, even in periods of downturn, governments must have no more than the most limited role in the life of the economy.

Full employment should at all times — and not just during a crisis — be the prime goal of economic policy. Not only because the denial of a job to someone who wishes to work is a personal tragedy, but also because there is, in the end, nothing efficient about having vast numbers of people willing and able to work sitting idle.

To protests questioning the likely cost of guaranteeing everyone a job, the answer must be: no greater, in the end, than handing out billions in unemployment benefits, sacrificing similar in lost tax revenues, and paying the enormous social costs — such as rising crime, family breakdown and lower life expectancy — that always come with widespread joblessness.

With the Bank of England predicting an unemployment rate of 7.75% by the middle of the year, it is time the frontiers of the state were rolled forward a little. Standing idly by as the dole queues begin to form may serve to create a new generation of Jarrows. And that is a fate from which some towns may never recover.


Make civil servants run small businesses

Peter Franklin, Associate Editor

Does central government understand what it’s like to run a small business? Insane proposals — like the idea that all businesses should have to file quarterly tax returns — would suggest not.

To bridge the gap between Whitehall’s desk jockeys and the people who pay their wages, I’ve got a little suggestion.

Every government department, including the Treasury, would be required to buy and manage at least one small-or-medium-sized enterprise (SME). This would be in a sector for which the department is responsible. For instance, DEFRA could run a small farm; the Department of Transport, a taxi firm; the Home Office, a security outfit. You get the idea.

As for Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, let’s see how they get on with a brewery.

Civil servants — including senior officials and the brightest new recruits — would be seconded for at least a year to provide the hands-on management. They’d be allowed to hire some permanent staff, but the secondees would have to do all the admin themselves — and especially the paperwork generated by government regulation.

Once deployed, the civil servants would get no more help from their colleagues. The only government support they’d be allowed to access is whatever’s available to the general public. To help them take their temporary roles seriously, a big chunk of their normal salaries would be paid as a bonus instead — the size of which would depend on the performance of the business.

Ministers should have some skin in the game too. It wouldn’t be practical to send them on a ‘tour of duty’ with their civil servants, but they should have to make an annual statement to Parliament on the performance of each departmental SME. Obviously, it would be very embarrassing if it made a loss — or even went bust.

Most importantly, the ‘lived experience’ of actually running an SME would help inform government efforts to cut red tape. All departments would have to keep the bureaucratic burdens they place on SMEs within a set ‘time budget’. They’d have to prove that the paperwork they generate for others can be completed with the maximum time allotted. This could be checked against the work diaries of their own seconded civil servants.

How much would this all cost? Well, nothing at all — if, that is, the small businesses broke even. And it wouldn’t be that hard for Britain’s civil servants to ensure that happened. Would it?


Defund the universities

Poppy Coburn, Student

It’s hard to pinpoint when it became obvious that British universities are doomed. Perhaps it was the moment, at the beginning of the pandemic, that the University and Colleges Union announced HE institutes faced a ÂŁ2.6 billion shortfall in funding? Or was it last month, when the Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford accused her own institution of “dismal failures” over free speech? Rather than conjuring up the idea of free discourse and academic excellence, “university” is now shorthand for a furious wave of anti-enlightenment thinking and financial incompetence.

It needn’t be this way. Universities were once the domain of the few, with polytechnics and apprenticeships providing a more practical training for the wider workforce. The shift away from council-led funding towards the student loan model — which aimed to reduce the burden upon the taxpayer of subsidising higher education — has sped up a marketisation process that has seen universities scrambling to attract more students, often via costly building developments and a lowering of academic standards.

These student-consumers hold considerable power over their educators: they “buy themselves grades”, demand exorbitant funding for Student Unions and block controversial speakers. If a massive influx of young people feels coerced into taking on student debt, why shouldn’t they demand the best educational product? And is it any wonder that, when they realise, post-graduation, that the real world isn’t as tractable — that society doesn’t have enough high-paid, high-status work to placate them — they become disillusioned, impassioned actors in the culture wars?

Estimates suggest that, by 2024, the Government could be spending ÂŁ22 billion subsidising student loans. If Boris Johnson is serious about restoring the good reputation of our universities, he must attack the source of their failures: reverse marketisation by slashing funding to ailing institutions, and instead invest money into skills-based programmes that can give young people a path to gainful, meaningful employment.


Bring down house prices for the young

Ed West, Senior Editor

Of all the terrible pieces of government advice dished out this past year, there was one advert that particularly, irrationally grated with me. It was a video by the German health authorities hailing young people as Covid heroes for lying on the sofa all year, and I suppose it reaffirmed just what an appalling waste it all is, to make life so meaningless.

For middle-aged people, the last year has obviously been terrible, but at least it’s been terrible in a structured sort of way; when you have kids, every day is lockdown to a certain extent, so spending Saturday night on Google Maps is not a huge lifestyle change (well for me at any rate).

For 20-somethings it’s been considerably worse, so in some sense the coming budget has to be about paying back the people who lost one of the best years of their life. And there really is one issue that crowds out every other issue — housing.

Lockdown aggravates all the worst things in life and for many it’s brought home the fact that they live in overcrowded properties, in flat shares for way too long, or are still living with their parents. High housing costs have a huge impact on productivity; they are known to hugely reduce family-formation and also push people radically to the Left.

There is much sentimentalising at the moment of the Attlee government, and a belief that we should return to 1945 — a time when young heroes were rewarded. But it was the Attlee government’s Town and Country Planning Act which made house-building unusually hard in Britain.

Now we find ourselves in a tragedy of the commons, where people block development because individually they suffer from new housebuilding, which makes their lives worse. Yet they are collectively ensuring that their children are too poor to give them grandchildren.

This has to change, and maybe there is a solution at hand. A couple of weeks ago Policy Exchange published a paper proposing “street votes”, by which residents of low-density suburban streets could vote to build up to four or five storeys.

It’s reckoned that two million new homes in the most sought-after parts of the country could result from this, without building on any green belt land, making lots of (Tory-voting) suburban houseowners very rich and also bringing down the cost of rent and house-buying, and so creating a new generation of (Tory-voting) young homeowners.

They’ve spent a year on the sofa, at least give them the chance to one day have their own living room.


Harness people’s pandemic savings

Polly Mackenzie, Contributor 

Rather more by accident than design, Britons have accumulated £125bn in savings during the pandemic. With hardly anything to do, or anywhere to go — with commuting costs slashed and lunches at home, with holidays cancelled and pubs closed — millions of us have left part of our pay packet just sitting in our bank accounts waiting for the end of the pandemic.

It’s one of the many ways in which lockdown has been unfair. While millions have lost their livelihoods and struggled to keep their heads above water, others find themselves rather more comfortably off than they have ever been before. But let’s see the positive: there’s the opportunity for a big economic stimulus — one that will benefit everyone, if we can get some of those stockpiled pounds and pence spent on something useful.

The Bank of England is forecasting that we’ll go on a bit of a mini-binge once lockdown is over, and 5% of all those savings — £6.25bn — will be spent, boosting growth in the second half of the year. Most of that will probably go on new work clothes, given that everyone I know has either piled on a stone or taken up running and shrunk two dress sizes.

But what about the rest of it? The Northern Research Group of Conservative MPs have proposed a Northern Recovery Bond, which would offer savers the opportunity to invest in infrastructure spending; Keir Starmer has proposed a similar, national scheme of Recovery Bonds that would offer a secure return to savers in a time of uncertainty.

Why not go one step further and create a sovereign wealth fund — with a mandate to invest in the transition to a green economy — in which all citizens can buy shares? Government can still borrow at shockingly low rates, so it could also put money directly into the fund, and give away those shares as a reward to those many low-paid workers who’ve served the country during the crisis. And it could bring back the old Child Trust Funds, too, to create small investments for the next generation.

Some will argue that this would just be financial smoke and mirrors. Government should keep it simple — borrow and invest on our behalf to grow the economy — and people should save wherever they fancy; eventually the capital will find its way to the most productive investments. But that would be to ignore the huge benefit of inspiring a spirit of collective action, not just for recovery but in support of the economic transition we need to go through in the face of climate and technological change.

People are fed up with change; and yet change is inevitable. One of the key questions the Chancellor should be asking is how to get people excited in, and emotionally invested in, the economy of the future. The answer is to help them get literally invested in it.


Various Contributors bringing a range of different voices.

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Hmmm…this is all a bit Guardian in style i.e. ask a bunch of writers to come up with a bunch of proposals that will never be implemented. It is one of the reasons why so many of us stopped reading the Guaridan.
That said, the universities certainly should be defunded, and I have said for years that civil servants should be seconded to small businesses on a regular basis. I’m not sure that getting civil servants to actually run small businesses would be a good idea – already something like 90% of small businesses fail and getting civil servants to run them would increase that figure to 100%.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

100% Bust.
I’m sure the CS can do better than that – say 120%!
I must admit to being biassed – I live in one of the
villages surrounding the IPO and BSO on the outskirts
of Newport (Gwent)

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Doug Pingel

They could easily reach the 120% by having a huge pool of wealth to compete with real small business in their area, and by long and protracted subsidizing the CS based failing business, drive the competition to bankruptcy before finally closing their door themselves.

Say they open a bakery, a badly run one with poor cakes and breads, so CS Bakery lower and lower their prices to get business till finally the local good bakery has its customers depart for the poor, but cheap, breads. Both end up broke and closing, a 200% failure. My guess is this would be the normal. Or say a small Taxi company with extremely entitled drivers who only work bank hours and spend every ride complaining to the passengers how they have to drive people about and yet they have a PPE degree.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

A very good and astute post. I have no doubt that civil servants would contrive to destroy both their own businesses and those around them.
There really is no limit to the damage that these people are capable of doing.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

No one among the erudite good and great of Unherd want to mention free lifelong retraining and ‘bootcamp’ education? As often as needed, for all, with an emphasis on STEM? I accept it might appear coercive, it’s not easy, not nice, and incredibly high pressure. But for my money this is the *only* real way to support younger generations – tough love, if you like. You can chuck money at the young via a UBI or subsidised housing etc, all great, but surely it’s absolutely obvious these would be sticking plasters. Which, by the way, will end up being paid for by those precise same young people whom the measures would be aimed at helping. Unless, of course, government loots the asset wealth of the boomers as blood money to allow the young to party for a bit, until reality sets in in a few years, when they are forced to race the machine. Everything has side effects, no free lunch.

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I agree with your suggestion and I’d tie it to Poppy Coburn’s suggestion to defund the universities, or, in my opinion, strategically defund the universities. The only source of real value left in western universities is in the hard sciences, engineering, and the science-based professions (notably medicine). Those disciplines should be funded and nurtured while everyone who wants a liberal arts education that focuses on woke ideology can pay for it out of their own pocket and fully cover the salaries and overhead of their professors. I believe Australia is in the process of adopting this funding model.
Overall, I favor supporting young people. They truly have been handed a raw deal. So much of BLM and the various protest groups that have sprung up is displaced frustration with their rotten life prospects.
Great, thought-provoking article, Unherd.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

The entire higher education sector globally is levitating: the lockdowns have knocked away it’s load bearing walls, and it’s only a short matter of time before they face a reckoning.

The lockdowns and virtual classrooms have highlighted the issue of how technology has altered the nature of scaling in education, which the education sector does not want to face up to, but soon will be forced to. I’m not judging if it’s good or bad, merely saying it’s inevitable.

For example, take five lecturers at five universities delivering a lecture on, I donno, the Tunneling effect in Solid State Physics, or the Poetry of the Romantics. The truth is the quality (and some content) will vary across all of those. As a thought experiment, imagine all the students from all five heard all the lectures. You might even get a consensus across most of the students that one lecturer was head and shoulders above the others. In the past, it was a physical and geographical necessity that you needed all five lecturers, because the best one couldn’t deliver to everyone. But as the lockdowns have perforce proved, technology solves that problem totally. In which case, what justifies the existence of the other lecturers? Extending the thought experiment: say 5 Unis offering the same course pooled together, and all 5 lecturers across the Unis recorded their entire lecture sets for a module for a term, and all of these were made available for all the students to sample and pick which lecturer they liked, and they could pick the one they found most to their taste. Based on who was selected and whose content was the most highly rated, the lecturers get payed. I bet a couple would earn a living and the remaining ones would soon be looking for a supplementary job at Starbucks.

An instant objection a University lecturer might make, is that content is dynamic and always changing. And sure: no one is saying lecturers don’t change content, of course they do. I’m saying though, that the delta is typically small month on month. Changes, especially in the Humanities are a slow burn – there is not that much new to say on Romantic Poetry after a couple of hundred years. Faster in STEM, but the basics undergrads have to learn are relatively static. Much more dynamic at Postgrad level but that’s an altogether smaller, more cutting edge niche market. A lecturer deemed excellent might typically deliver their lecture to, say, a hall of 150. What prevents that same content delivered to 150K students via technology? Nothing. In which case, if that can be done, why would students at other universities not prefer the best lecturers and best content across Universities, over their own local lecturers, and what then justifies the salaries of the peers of the best ones at all the other Universities?

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I hope your right but fear it won’t happen. The anti STEM liberal arts crowd are not just entrenched in the academy, but the civil service and most of the public sector. I think we all know they won’t give up their ill gotten gains voluntarily. Appealing for them to stop or other regulators to stop them is a bit like asking a a major drug cartel to please put down your arms and take up plumbing or car mechanics.

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Sadly, I think you’re right. I suspect we’ll see an increase in university funding post-lockdown with a sizeable chunk going to the liberal arts, sociology, etc. As you say, the government and higher ed bureaucrats are cut from the same cloth.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

‘there is not that much new to say on Romantic Poetry after a couple of hundred years.’

Surely you are joking, the Romantic poets, along with all the Dead White Guys in Humanities need total deconstructing to identify the vast layering of racism, sexism, gender issues, and entitlement, which comprises 90% of their work.

Also STEM you say is static? Well how about the fact STEM needs a totall Decolonization? Better science needs to be found in the rest of the world, and those replace the DWG science (dead white guys) holding the world back. This will be a big growth employment opportunity in the field of nu-stem.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Congratulations, you have just offered a solution for the job guarantee.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

YES! Bootcamp education: Not only free, but mandatory.

Wakey, Wakey Maggots! You can sleep when you are dead! On the floor and give me 20, and 5 minutes till the 7K run with full book bags! Turn in your papers on Sartre’s phenomenology and nothingism by noon or it is another 7 K!

By God, the West would soon be the world leader again.

Cynthia Neville
Cynthia Neville
3 years ago

Ari and Mary, whose views I respect and enjoy reading even if I do not already agree, deeply disappointed me. Surely the most basic historical knowledge should have convinced you that the cost of ‘basic incomes for all under age X’ is very, very high? The Canadian prime minister gave a monthly ‘stipend’ of $2000 to basically anyone who applied, no questions asked. Canadians are now on the hook for 83 billion in 2020 for that programme alone. What would such a thing actually cost in real mobey to your already burdened tax payers? Would alk the lovely and generous folk cooking and baking off record be willing to poney up tax dollars to support such a project? I wonder. And, by the way, Mary, I’m all for informal kitchen, back garden BBQ and lemonade sales of all kinds too. But I guess I’d want assurance that should your lovely cooks accidentally poison me I would have satisfactory recourse. That’s about as likely a scenario as my first.
Keep up the good work, UnHerd. But maybe depend on your obviously competent readers not to need facile solutions to grave problems.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

I think Mary’s ideas is actually a very good one. You presume that all of these petty rules actually accomplish something. 5 children in the UK have just been killed by eating contaminated chicken nuggets imported from the EU, not that the media bothers to report on such things these days. This happened despite a huge number of rules and regulations designed to avoid such outcomes (or at least pretend to do so) such as forbidding the use of chlorine in cleaning chicken. I think it’s far safer to eat something cooked in your neighbour’s kitchen, even if they lack planning permission, rather than something produced in a factory thousands of miles away under rules designed to have a minimal impact on the profitably of international food conglomerates.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Unless, of course. You suffer from one of those allergies that could result in death if a bit of nut accidentally got into your neighbour’s muffins.

James Watson
James Watson
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

If you are one of those people avoid your neighbour’s kitchen. There, problem solved.

Scott Carson
Scott Carson
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

“could result in death if a bit of nut accidentally got into your neighbour’s muffins.”

I’m really, really hoping that this was a euphemism.

Anakei greencloudnz
Anakei greencloudnz
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Carson

Sweeney Todd?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

Presumably someone would have to set a rule that states once the business is a certain size, it needs to adopt the rules.
I wonder how that cut-off could sensible be defined and managed…

Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Geographically.

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago

Do you favor any of the proposed policies? Are there policies not mentioned in the article you would recommend? I ask because the western world desperately needs discussion and ideas for providing our young people with a meaningful future.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

The free money for the young is a combination of ‘Brave New World’ and ‘Lord of the Flies’. Young people are not biologically designed for idleness. Young men without work to absorb their mental and physical energies turn to self destructive or anti-social ways.

Paying people to work without real work to do, which is what work-fare turns into, is also mentally distressing. I always liked the story of a Quaker farmer in the Great Depression where Hobos whoud stop to ask for food. He approved of charity but believed a man should work for his needs, so he would have them hit a log with the back of an ax for an hour first – if he had them split the wood with the sharp end his own labourers would lose the pay. Most of the Hobos just could not bring themselves to do it, such a pointless thing, but the Quaker felt this also showed who really needed the handout.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

For multiple reasons, the state should support young families, but it’s the generation below them that have suffered most from Covid. 
The state should get out of people’s way; it has caused enough economic harm as it is and creating more debt is not an answer to anything. The young have indeed suffered and we’ll have months of stories about this to follow, with people wondering how it could have happened.

Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Agreed Sir.

Thomas Laird
Thomas Laird
3 years ago

Guarantee jobs. What, Soviet style? Where you had 6 people working where barely one was needed? Why not give the unemployed a pair of nail clippers each and send them down to public parks to cut the grass? Better still split them into two shifts. The early shift can dig a big hole and the late shift can fill it in again – rinse repeat.
So if the government haven’t printed enough funny money, we are now going to give anyone under 30 2Grand a month? Let’s not even consider the implications for age discrimination. That’s a sure way to make sure prices go up and the feckless don’t bother their arse looking for work. That’s sure to get the economy booming. I have a better Idea. Give everyone a printer in their house and let them print off bank notes whenever they need them. That’s what the government does and it will cut bureaucracy.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Laird

Congratulations for demonstrating your abject lack of understanding of the Job Guarantee proposal. Do some homework before you embarrass yourself any further.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

So explain the proposal from your lofty intellectual perch. What did Thomas Laird get so wrong?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

I notice you do not even point out what he misunderstood, if anything. I too think it’s a terrible idea and just puts welfare dependency on steroids; it will actually ruin the lives of a substantial number of the recipients.

Gary Ransome
Gary Ransome
3 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Laird

Correct

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
3 years ago

Well said, I suppose. Unless you are anyone who has ever been really poor, grew up on a council estate, never expected, or knew, that a leg up by the well off, was even a realistic possibility. Write to your audience, flatter their vanities. None of you (or your audience) ever had to dig a ditch with a spade. The larger part of the population, those who thought that perhaps digging ditches was a reasonable job, despise you, as they always have. They always will. Speaking that is, as someone who was told, repeatedly, that ditches were to good for me, the mines for you. That “you can f**k off” moment changed my future. But not into one that made me think like the ubove.

Last edited 3 years ago by Lee Jones
Tim Bartlett
Tim Bartlett
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

While sending the entire educated class to the fields and returning to year zero has its attractions, its not really the British way. Moreover, it never really works. As long as they send their sons over the top in front of us I, personally, am prepared to take the brown stuff they throw down.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

Remember during Mao’s great Cultural Revolution where the ‘intellectuals’ were all sent to labour in the fields, to be ‘Educated by the Peasants’?

The National Trust, that hot bed of wokist Liberalism, had a program where 12 year old children from the cities would go out to the magnificant stately homes the trust ran, to ‘Educate the Workers there about Racism’.

Once I read that story I knew Britain is done.

Fred Bloggs
Fred Bloggs
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

I think you under-estimate the trials and tribulations endured by many of the people you apparently despise.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

Is any of that story true, Mr Jones?

David Wrathall
David Wrathall
3 years ago

Well we heard from regular contributors, columnists, editors, and deputy editors …but the only sensible (and doable) suggestion came from a student.

Perhaps there is hope.

Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago

The first article claimed that “Mitt” Romney’s government spending scheme was “wildly acclaimed” – this means the normal media talking heads claimed to like it. As for the article writer’s proposal of two thousand Pounds a month of free money for people under 30 – what about twenty thousand Pounds? Or two hundred thousand Pounds? And what about for people OVER 30? The article was really meant for April 1st.
The next article talked of the lockdowns (an international movement which did NOT reduce deaths from Covid 19) – the idea of deregulation was good, but whilst government retains the power to lockdown society whenever it wants to, people are not likely to rush out to create small business enterprises (vast Corporations can prosper during lockdowns – but not most ordinary people).
Another article said that everyone should be given a well paid job by the government – essentially ignoring that a subject called “economics” exists.
Another article rightly attacked the mess the universities have become – sadly government backed student “loans” are unlikely to end soon.
And another article talked about how the government should “borrow and invest” to “put the savings of the British people to work”. I have been, partly, living on my savings for the last year (because the lockdown put me out of work) – so this vast amount of savings is a surprise to me. However, anyone who thinks that government spending is “investment” needs to read Bastiat and J.B. Say.

Last edited 3 years ago by Paul Marks
Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago

I forgot to mention the article pushing the myth that it is planning regulations that have caused the high price of housing – in reality local councils lost their power to block housing estates years ago. Yes local people hate all this development – but there is nothing that elected councillors can really do to block it (not for years).
The high price of housing has several causes (none of which was mentioned by Ed West) – family breakdown is one, with people living alone in houses of flats. Or mother and children living without a husband and father. Mass immigration is another cause of the high price of housing. But most importantly there is the vast Credit Bubble monetary and financial system – both the property market and the stock market are artificially inflated by the Credit Money of the Bank of England and the “pet” banks and other financial institutions.

Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
3 years ago

I didn’t get past the first lunacy. 20 million people under 25. £24,000 a year. Is that £480 billion? Whatever, it is hardly an intelligent contribution to a serious debate. For a family with five young children, every day would be Christmas Day.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

Like the Scottish Island where the economy was based on every housewife sending her laundry to be done by her neighbor, till one woman did her own and her neighbors, doubling her money, but immediately the entire economy collapsed.

This 2000 pounds monthly would be the opposite. Every young person would have their neighbor cooking top quality food for them, two of the above birds with one stone, and the economy would Boom.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

There is a lot of Modern Monterey Theory (MMT) involved these proposals but MMT does not work because it assumes the printing press can run for every, The amount of QE we have undertaken since 2009 has not caused inflation, but that has been by luck rather than judgement.
The government needs to:

  1. Find a way out of being the employer of last (or is it first) resort
  2. Reduce the drain on business from higher tax to encourage business investment to improve our productivity
  3. Look at restructuring government debt. This is a lot easier than it sounds because the Bank of England owns such a portion of government debt it can be cancelled without impacting on external investors. This will have the effect of significantly reducing our Debt/GDP ratio and unravel a large part of the QE giving the government the head room to deal with any economic shocks in the future
Paul Marks
Paul Marks
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

The extra Credit Money was to prop up the Credit Money bubble that would otherwise have collapsed (bust) – asset prices remain absurdly inflated. The cost of housing and the absurd level of the stock market reflects this.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Marks

Yes, the inflation from QE is buried in asset prices. We have avoided inflation else where more by luck than judgement!
Restructuring the debt will hopefully enable interest rates to rise to a more sustainable level which is the only way to reduce asset price inflation.

John Smith
John Smith
3 years ago

If Rishi Sunak wants to create the environment from which the UK economy can rapidly recover from the effects of this pandemic then the following simple three point plan should work.
1) Leave corporate, personal taxes and consumption taxes alone (or possibly even lower them), trim 2-3% of government spending generally, and then if the interest burden on existing debt starts looking a bit excessive then reduce the debt via judicious use of QE.
2) Access the regulatory burden on businesses and cut it, especially smaller businesses. Regulation is quoted by businesses as the second greatest challenge (acquiring customers is first, acquiring good staff third).
3) Create some proper incentives for businesses to start on-shoring significant proportions of their supply chains. If the pandemic has taught anyone anything it is that supply chains extending to China, India etc are not a great idea when the chips are down and it will also help mitigate any residual Brexit issues.
This isn’t exactly dragon magic. If one wishes to create a high growth economy then lowering taxes, reducing pointless business box ticking and creating the right incentives has always worked. Once the economy is running on all six cyclinders again then one can think about tax increases and some well targeted spending, but not before.
I’m afraid I don’t think much of the suggestions in the article – most call for larger state involvement in the economy when what is needed is to revitalise the GDP productive sectors.

Terence Riordan
Terence Riordan
3 years ago

Just a radical thought Universities should be academically elitist and Free. For the truly able. Other routes for education at the highest level should be available.We actually had quite a good system needing revision rather than the destruction wreaked upon it.

Gary Ransome
Gary Ransome
3 years ago

ÂŁ2000 a month? Just right to but the good old weed…..

Last edited 3 years ago by Gary Ransome
steves9404
steves9404
3 years ago

I’ve got better ideas. Rather than limit a Universal Basic Income payment to everyone under age 30, let’s give it to everyone.
The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have been hard on everyone, not just the under 30 crowd.
UBI would simplify the administration and reduce the costs of state pensions, unemployment insurance and other income supports.
The economy would benefit greatly, and the intensity and frequency of boom-and-bust economic cycles would be reduced.
Reduce the cost of housing for everyone. Pensioners and middle-class people are also being negatively affected by the housing crunch. The best way to solve the problem is to quickly flood the market with high-quality, affordable housing.
To achieve that goal, we need to create something as vast and monolithic as the Manhattan Project of the Second World War.
The only reason why we have a housing crunch in the first place is due to sheer, unadulterated greed, selfishness, and government negligence. No one should have to wait a generation or more for the problem to be fixed.
A job for everyone who wants one is a great idea. Let’s create a Civilian Construction Corps to build affordable housing and other public infrastructure, too.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago

The Job Guarantee is far and away the best proposal. Start there, please and thank you.

Saul D
Saul D
3 years ago

A more radical thinking game: Switch taxes from money to time. Instead of paying 20% in money, you give the government 1 working day of your time per week (or 10 weeks in the year), and abolish direct-paid public sector employees.

eugene power
eugene power
3 years ago

Amazing how Commie propaganda becomes historical fact. By the time of the Jarrow march eg Scunthorpe and Dagenham were hiring. why did not jarrow marchers just get on their bike sooner ?
Commie propaganda as a policy basis???

Terence Riordan
Terence Riordan
3 years ago

I’ll admit to being old and coming from a coal mining village where dad was a coalminer. So I have some baggage in this discussion. I was always told two very key things…
You have to earn a living
Sticks and stoneswill break your bones but words can never hurt you.
OK I have earned a living in Private Sector, worked in Corporate (hated the waste and slothof big organisations) became a manufacturing SME/Entrepreneur with hosue on the line etc etc, faced bankruptcy and sold products into 47 countries worldwide.
So I love the idea of Public Sector Depts having to actually run small busieness….as long as they the people have to accept somewhere some personal risk. All shareholders? Performance part of their appraisal system? Without that they will play.
Houses etc etc, Full Employment.. where does “Earn a living ” apply.
Rishi should not go for taxation he should go for growth and the best way is to reduce Govt…shred the Civil Service to 50% of present size, Scrap Quangos and start again.
Make seed capital available with sensible due diligence appropriate to the business and don’t be afreaid of second stage funding involvement. Always insist upon personal risk for the businees owners!
In funding..having failed is not necessarily a preventer of a second funding because as we know in the USA attitudes, you probably learned a lot and would risk all again.
Govts do not make wealth they just help to provide an environment to get people to create wealth.
The above are just some thoughts but I suggest the principle approach to the future should be to enable people to grow with key Govt help being education and fiscal loan funding supported by a security/Standard of living safety net for those who really need it.

T J Putnam
T J Putnam
3 years ago

With the honourable exceptions of Embury and McKenzie, this comes across as self-pitying whinges and envy. A universal basic income could be interesting but you wouldn’t start by handing some out to those who think they’ve been hard done by rather than acting with others in the common interest. Equally, we can re-examine regulation but not to the taste of those who scorn public health and safety.
There’s ignorance as well as resentment: contrary to myths cherished in certain quarters, there’s more of a need to support entrepreneurs seeing outside the box than civil servants whose job is to do so already, we just need more of them. And it would be a bonfire of cultural, social and economic capital to reshape post-secondary education to suit nostalgia for cosy elites troubled only by their own preferment. Only one possessed by such nostalgia could be so oblivious to her surroundings as to imagine that informed activism arises from discontent at not being able to access what she desires. But perhaps she’s just being disingenuous….

Caroline Dimascio
Caroline Dimascio
3 years ago

Dear Mr Sunak. ÂŁ2000 a month for the under 30’s? Ive worked full time and paid tax since 17 years old (40 years) and not had a free education after 17. So I would like to apply for 2k a month so I can go traveling and do all the things I couldn’t when I was under 30. I don’t take home 2K a month now so it would be luxury. I think this would be a highly ageist not to mention costly exercise.