The childcare system in England is broken. Our nurseries are among the most expensive in the world, but our childcare professionals are some of the lowest paid workers in society. For a long time, government policy on childcare has been badly thought out and severely underfunded. More recently, big international chains have moved into the sector. So, what should be done? How would we fix the childcare system? And what would it mean for families, and for the country, if we finally got it right? This week Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Helen Penn, Visiting Professor at the UCL Institute of Education, Amy Martin, Creative Director of Impact Hub Birmingham, and Lucie Stephens, Head of Co-production at NEF.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Helen Penn, Amy Martin, Lucie Stephens
Our public services are in dire need of investment. And it is time to ask what we want our public services to actually do for us. That’s the view of group of economists and campaigners who are pushing for something called ‘Universal Basic Services’ – a radical expansion of high-quality public services for all to areas like transport, childcare and social care. More than 70 years after the creation of the welfare state and the NHS, is it time to reimagine the public services we should all expect? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by NEF Principle Fellow Anna Coote and openDemocracy Economics Editor Laurie Macfarlane.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Anna Coote, Laurie Macfarlane
‘Low-skilled’ or ‘high-skilled’. An ‘economic net contributor’, or ‘a drain on public services’. For decades, immigrants have been treated as scapegoats for everything from failing public services to violent crime. And much too often, as less than human But how did we get here? How did the public conversation about immigration become so toxic? And is there another way forward – an alternative to the hostile environment? This week, New Economics Foundation is at SOAS with a live audience and Maya Goodfellow, author of ‘Hostile Environment: How immigrants became scapegoats’.
Some common lines you’ll hear about the economy: we all put money in, or take it out. Some people pay their fair share, but others don’t. We can’t overspend – putting public spending on the national credit card would be irresponsible. But not all of those lines are strictly true and the way we talk about the economy affects the way we think about its future. This week on the podcast: what we’re really talking about when we talk about the economy. Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Anat Shenker-Osorio – communications expert, researcher and author of ‘Don’t Buy It: the trouble with talking nonsense about the economy’, and Ellie Mae O’Hagan – journalist and author of the forthcoming book ‘The New Normal’.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Anat Shenker-Osorio, Ellie Mae O’Hagan
It’s one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. But unlike the phone, the car, computers and indoor plumbing, the weekend is still stuck in the 1930s. As productivity increased, the promise of shorter working hours always seemed just out of reach. But now, there’s a campaign to make the 4-day week a reality within our lifetimes. Obviously many people would love to work less. But what would it mean for the economy? And what would it take to make it a reality? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Alfie Stirling, Head of Economics and Aidan Harper, Researcher at the New Economics Foundation.
More and more of us are renting for longer – not by choice, but by necessity. In cities especially, more people are renting into their thirties, forties and beyond, sometimes raising children in rented flats with no long-term security. Rents are sky high. Saving for a deposit can take a decade or longer. And for many people, property ownership seems unachievable. But what if we could do something about it? Could rent controls be the answer? To help answer this question, Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Hanna Wheatley, researcher at the New Economics Foundation and co-author of a NEF report on rent controls, and Eva Freeman, private renter and member of the London Renters Union.
If you’ve been listening to the Weekly Economics Podcast for a while, you’ll know that we think there’s much more to economics than GDP. But it still dominates the way politicians and much of the press talk about the economy. Now though, there are lots of new proposals for measuring what counts. So what should replace GDP? And how would it change society? That’s our big question today, that Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is discussing with Guardian economics correspondent Richard Partington and NEF fellow Annie Quick.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Richard Partington, Annie Quick
The polls show that while previous generations became more conservative with age, millennials are staying left wing for longer. And age and education now seem to be the big dividing line in our politics, replacing class as the key division. So what’s going on? And what are the political implications of Generation Left? That’s our big question on the Weekly Economics Podcast this week and to help us answer it, Ayeisha is joined by Keir Milburn, author of Generation Left, and lecturer in political economy and organisation at University of Leicester, and Shelly Asquith, a political advisor at Unite the Union.
It’s been a busy year for the climate movement since last summer’s scorching heatwave. Extinction Rebellion shut down the streets, the school strikes saw thousands of young people take a stand, and the Green New Deal has shot to the top of the political agenda – for now, at least. Last month Parliament passed a motion to declare an ‘environment and climate change emergency’. Meanwhile, Theresa May is trying to use the last weeks of her premiership to build some sort of legacy, including a new target for net zero climate emissions by 2050. So, against that backdrop, what should the climate movement do next? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined this week by Hannah Martin from Greenpeace and Green New Deal UK.
Last month, the owner of a chain of British hi-fi shops did something unusual. Julian Richer, the founder of Richer Sounds, gave away control of the company to the employees, and even gave them each a £1,000 cash bonus for every year they’ve worked there. It’s a rare move for company owners to give up their wealth. Is this just generosity, or could it actually be good for business? And could it also be good economics, and even good for the planet? The New Economics Foundation is back for a brand new series of the Weekly Economics Podcast. Ayesha Thomas-Smith is joined by Marjorie Kelly, Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow of The Democracy Collaborative in the US, and Mathew Lawrence, director of the think tank Common Wealth and co-author of a NEF report about inclusive ownership funds.
Ayesha Thomas-Smith, Marjorie Kelly, Mathew Lawrence