Progressive Economy Blog

BBC analysis of labour market statistics misses the point

PEF Economist Michael Davies writes. There are no big surprises in this month’s round of labour market statistics from the ONS. Very little has changed since August, when I wrote about the UK’s dismal wage and productivity growth – ultimately a result of labour market...

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The UN is worried by UK austerity – so how do we end it?

The UN has just issued a damning report on the UK's policy failures over the past eight years, cataloguing and condemning the "unnecessary misery" inflicted on people in the name of austerity. The Progressive Economy Forum seeks to offer an alternative vision for...

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“Economically illiterate and morally fraudulent”: Lord Skidelsky on the Chancellor’s narrative

This is a transcript of PEF Council member Lord Skidelsky’s speech in the House of Lords debate on the state of the British economy in light of the Budget statement, 14 November 2018. In it, he lays bare the Conservatives’ “economically illiterate and morally fraudulent” narrative of the Great Recession, and argues that a true end to austerity would involve repairing the unnecessary harm inflicted on the British people in its name.

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The Bank of England itself must now take action on climate change

This open letter, written by PEF Council member Daniela Gabor and co-signed by fellow Council members Johnna Montgomerie, Ann Pettifor and Stephany Griffith-Jones, was published in the Financial Times on 14 November 2018 and calls for the Bank of England to incorporate climate-related financial risks in its monetary operations.

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Budget 2018: The PEF Council reacts

What should we take away from this year's Budget? Our PEF Council react to Hammond's announcements on Universal Credit, investment, growth and more below. For more progressive perspectives on the Budget, tune into our new podcast on SoundCloud.   Guy...

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Hammond, McDonnell & the Budget to end austerity

PEF Chair Patrick Allen and Council member Professor John Weeks respond to the Shadow Chancellor’s pre-Budget speech, and lay out the critical differences between McDonnell’s and Hammond’s approaches.

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The 29 October Budget: Is this really the “end of austerity”?

“Pandering to the ideas of a fragmented Conservative Party, rather than the needs of Britain as a whole, makes as much sense as managing an allotment entirely for the benefit of the whitefly.” PEF Council member Dr Sue Konzelmann finds the Conservatives’ promises to “end austerity” implausible in light of recent history, and argues for a different approach to recovery – growth. 

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The size of the Chancellor’s envelope: why does it matter?

Much of the Chancellor’s upcoming Budget (October 29) risks being made irrelevant by the culmination of Brexit negotiations in the following month. But we should be aware of one announcement that is likely to have a lasting impact on the shape of government spending – the size of the ‘spending envelope’. PEF economist Michael Davies writes.

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Mr Hammond gets his excuses in first

In light of growing pressure on the Conservatives to call time on public spending cuts, Professor John Weeks exposes how the Chancellor is using Brexit uncertainty as ideological cover for the continuation of austerity.

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Babbling budget: clearing ground for more austerity

PEF Council member John Weeks writes on the IMF’s ideological project to treat government finances as if they were corporate finances, and attacks the Financial Times for its uncritical coverage of the IMF’s most recent pronouncements on the UK economy. 

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Cancel household debt (100 Policies to End Austerity)

“Everyone knows household debt is a major cause of entrenched economic malaise but no one in a position of power is willing to do anything about it.” Dr Johnna Montgomerie proposes a cancellation of household debt in this installment of our ‘100 Policies to End Austerity’ series.

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Universal Basic Income (100 Policies to End Austerity)

In the second entry of our '100 Policies to End Austerity' series, Professor Guy Standing outlines the case for a basic income as a progressive road out of austerity.   Accelerated by austerity’s inequities, the 20th century income distribution system has broken down...

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Universal Basic Services (100 Policies to End Austerity)

We already have a National Health Service and free public education - what if we extended the same ethos to housing, transport, information access and food? In the first piece of our 100 Policies to End Austerity series, Andrew Percy presents the case for Universal...

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100 Policies to End Austerity

Dr Johnna Montgomerie, Prof John Weeks and Ann Pettifor introduce PEF’s new project, 100 Policies to End Austerity. “Our bold plan is to curate 100 Policies to End Austerity as a starting point for a better future. We will bring together contributions from economists and policy experts that articulate clear proposals for a progressive, sustainable and equitable British economy for the 21st century.”

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The Trivialisation of Fiscal Policy

  As the government and press celebrate a 'record budget surplus', PEF Council member John Weeks writes about the folly of this reaction and the widespread misunderstanding of the aims and workings of fiscal policy. Earlier this week, I wrote about the trivialisation...

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The Trivialisation of Monetary Policy

"The periodic interest rate announcements so avidly reported by the media obscure and may even undermine the serious work that the Bank of England should be doing." PEF Council member Prof John Weeks argues for a new approach to monetary policy. In early August the...

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New research on austerity and Brexit, old neoliberal tricks

  Recent research suggests a tight link between austerity and the vote to leave the EU in 2016. PEF Economist Michael Davies examines how austerity set the scene for Brexit and how neoliberal tactics are used to shut down attempts to link Brexit to structural forces....

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What is wrong about the Bank of England’s decision today?

PEF Council Member Ann Pettifor critiques the Bank of England's decision to raise interest rates. The BoE’s decision to raise the Bank Rate to 0.75% is a mistake. It is a mistake comparable to those made by Alan Greenspan’s Federal Reserve in the years between 2003...

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ONS Wealth and Assets Survey: Young people, North East fare badly

PEF economist Michael Davies warns against false optimism off the back of the latest ONS Wealth and Assets Survey results, and highlights the particular challenges faced by young people and the North East.   Today (1 August 2018) the ONS released their early indicator...

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Response to Theresa May’s NHS speech

This afternoon, Prime Minister Theresa May announced increases to NHS funding in her speech at the Royal Free Hospital in London. While the proposed spending increases are to be welcomed, Michael Davies argues that they remain inadequate in the face of the challenges...

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The crisis of the debt economy and the end of austerity

  The following is a transcript of Dr. Johnna Montgomerie's speech at the launch of the Progressive Economy Forum, in which she discusses the intimate link between 'public' and 'private' debt and its implications for the debate around austerity. Ten years on from the...

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The goals of economic policy

  Our current economic policy framework leaves a vacuum of responsibility for delivering an economy in which people can flourish. In response, Professor Richard Murphy outlines an alternative set of goals for economic policy. I have argued of late that monetarism is...

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What might a progressive economy look like?

A progressive economy might seem like a pipe dream, but is it achievable? Professor Danny Dorling explains. The future is another place a long way away. Look forward one hundred years; what do you see? We will hopefully be better housed, schooled, and employed, but...

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The Progressive Economy Forum – why now?

  Patrick Allen explains why he founded the Progressive Economy Forum I have spent the last 40 years as a solicitor in private practice building up a law firm, so you might wonder why I am choosing to create an economics forum and why now. There is a common theme. I...

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How do we create a progressive economy?

  A progressive majority can make great strides in changing society, argues Professor John Weeks Creating a progressive British economy, an economic system fit for human life, requires at the least four fundamental reforms, whose purpose would be to restrict severely...

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Bad economics is holding Britain back

  Writing ahead of the Chancellor's Spring Statement, PEF economist Michael Davies urges him to ditch austerity. Later today the Chancellor will no doubt take great pleasure in announcing a surplus on the government’s budget for current spending. Indeed, the...

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Not all debt is bad

  Not all debt is bad. Government debt can be good for the economy, says Michael Davies. Last month the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released their first Fiscal Monitor of the year – a document surveying and analysing the latest public finance developments as...

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What is a progressive economy?

  The economy needs to be decoupled from corporate interests, argues Dr Faiza Shaheen What is a progressive economy? The first three words that come to mind when I think about a progressive economy are: equality, green and community. Many of us would include this...

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