Over 70 top economists, human rights experts, and other academics have written to the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer urging him to make significant changes to his economic programme for government.
In an open letter coordinated by the think-tank Compassion in Politics, academics including Ha-Joon Chang and Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson - authors of the widely read The Spirit Level - warn Starmer that his current approach mimics the “economic orthodoxy that has made this country poorer, less cohesive and more unequal than fifteen years ago.”
The signatories point to evidence that Labour’s pledge to maintain the two-child limit on child benefits could push more families into poverty and that their emphasis on maintaining or even extending cuts will make the entire nation poorer and weaker.
The authors urge Starmer to back an increase in public spending - a policy that they say would not only protect the least well-off but also stimulate the overall economy.
They also argue that, with a change of government likely, the Labour Party has a unique opportunity to transform the economy into one that “improves wellbeing, works in alignment with our environment, and achieves social justice.”
They point to alternative economic models being trialed by governments outside Westminster - including ‘doughnut economics’ and ‘wellbeing economics’ - which focus on improving quality of life while reducing inequalities and the use of the planet’s finite resources.