This is a letter to the FT from the Progressive Economy Forum (an outfit that our esteemed benefactor, Richard Murphy, has been expelled from – simply because he doesn’t think Quantitative Easing will ever be paid back. Time has actually already told – it’s 12 years and counting that it has not…)
UK chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to set up a national infrastructure bank to “channel billions of pounds into capital projects” (Report, November 21). We write to urge the chancellor to broaden his vision. The regeneration of Britain’s “national infrastructure” must include investment in “social infrastructure” such as childcare, schools and universities, regional theatres, orchestras, common spaces and local sports. The pandemic has shown these economic activities are just as vital to society and the economy as the physical infrastructure of asphalt roads, green energy and safe bridges. And research demonstrates that investment in care has multiplier effects many times those of investing in construction, while generating far fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, these investments can be kickstarted in less time than construction projects. Under-investment in social infrastructure before the pandemic was a false economy; it would be even more so as we move into the recovery phase. Channelling money into Britain’s social infrastructure and especially into its care, education, arts and training sectors would create jobs, generate income for workers, the Treasury, and the wider economy, and contribute to a more robust and sustainable economy.
It seems to me that ‘broadening his vision’ is the very least that Sunak can do. Though having earned millions in a hedge fund he may find it particularly difficult.
Caring – that is caring for us all – is indeed absolutely essential.
And for some further, more psychological care – Britain actually exports lots of classical music performances – even those composed by those pesky Europeans that did not eventually, like Handel, decide to become ‘British’.
Are the money men ignorant of all art? And if they aren’t do they realise what it contributes to life?
Or is money and Brexit sovereignty all Sunak dreams of?