A hundred leading economists have made an impassioned call for the government to step back from the brink of a new economic crisis and back a Plan B to save existing jobs and create new ones, amid growing fears of a double-dip recession.
In a letter to the Observer, the umbrella group of distinguished experts from across the country argue that the chancellor must rethink his strategy and enact emergency measures to kickstart growth and save the UK from growing unemployment and a further fall in living standards.
Condemning the intransigence of the chancellor, George Osborne, as he pursues the coalition government's austerity programme, the economists write: "It is now clear that Plan A isn't working. Wave after wave of economic figures… have all concluded the British economy is faltering." And they warn: "Doing nothing is not an option."They call on the government to consider a host of measures proposed by a body of academics and economists brought together by the left-leaning thinktank Compass. The proposals, in a manifesto entitled "Plan B: a good economy for a good society", will be launched in London on Monday. They include:
An immediate halt to cuts, to protect jobs in the public sector.
- A new round of quantitative easing to finance a "Green New Deal" to create thousands of new jobs.
- Benefit increases to put money into the pockets of those on lower and middle incomes and give a boost to spending.
- A financial transaction tax to raise funds from the City to pay for investment in transport, energy and house building.