Knife crime is at a nine-year high. Everyone agrees: something must be done. Some politicians want more police on the streets, or tougher sentences. Others want cuts to mental health services to be reversed. One MP has suggested every knife in Britain should have a built-in GPS tracker – good luck with that. But knife crime it is a complex issue, and young people’s lives depend on policymakers getting it right. So today, Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is taking a big-picture look at the issue with one of the journalists who’s covered this issue more than perhaps any other: the Guardian’s editor-at-large, Gary Younge.
It’s hard to listen to the news at the moment without hearing some kind of warning about economy. Nearly all of those warnings focus on one thing – Brexit. It’s true that lots of people think Brexit is risky – but in the clamour to define what Brexit means, could we be blindsided by something else? Obviously it’s difficult to predict exactly how and when another shock to the economy might happen. But is there more we could be doing to get the economy ready for whatever might be around the corner? Guest host Hanna Wheatley is joined by NEF’s Head of Economics Alfie Stirling and Senior Economist Sarah Arnold.
The Green New Deal has rocketed to the top of the agenda in the US. It’s an ambitious plan, spearheaded by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to decarbonise the US economy and eliminate economic insecurity at the same time. But in fact the Green New Deal has some of its origins at the New Economics Foundation. So what’s the story behind the development of the idea? And how would a Green New Deal actually work, both in the UK and across the pond? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined this week by: Ann Pettifor, director of Prime Economics and one of the co-authors of the Green New Deal report published by NEF in 2008; Miatta Fahnbulleh, chief executive of the New Economics Foundation; and Waleed Shahid, communications director of the Justice Democrats, who also worked on the campaign to elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Ann Pettifor, Miatta Fahnbulleh, Waleed Shahid
Two years ago, nurses and doctors warned that the annual NHS winter crisis was now ‘the new normal’. In the cold weather, hospitals were overwhelmed by patients that they did not have the space to treat. But we’ve had a milder winter this year. Is the same true for the health service? The prime minister announced a new 10 year plan for the NHS in England, promising ‘world class’ care. But critics say nothing much has changed – and that the NHS will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis. This week, we’re taking the NHS’ temperature with nurse and campaigner Danielle Tiplady, lead organiser of Just Treatment Diarmaid McDonald, and NEF senior researcher Daniel Button.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Danielle Tiplady, Diarmaid McDonald, Daniel Button
Oxfam reported that in the 10 years since the financial crisis, the number of billionaires around the world has nearly doubled. It’s fair to say, the economy isn’t working for everyone. Every week on this podcast we look at a different economic problem and how to solve it, but what if economics itself – the way we teach it, talk about it and think about it – is the real problem? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by three people working to democratise economics and change how it’s taught across the country: co-director of Rethinking Economics Maeve Cohen, Chief Exec of Economy Joe Earle, and Polly Trenow from the Women’s Budget Group.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Maeve Cohen, Joe Earle, Polly Trenow
Public ownership is back on the agenda. Opinion polls show high levels of support for taking all kinds of things back into public hands, from the railways to water to energy, and the Labour party is committed to a vast expansion of public ownership. But if privatisation has failed, what kind of public ownership should replace it? As the critics of nationalisation are quick to say, British Rail wasn’t that great. What should be done differently this time? If these services were nationalised, would the state even know how to run them? And are there other ways of putting them back in public hands? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith is joined by Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It campaign, Hilary Wainwright, co-editor of Red Pepper magazine and fellow of the Transnational Institute, and Sahil Dutta, lecturer in political economy at Goldsmiths University.
The Windrush scandal outraged the nation last year. But last week the Home Office reinstated deportation flights to Jamaica for criminal offenders who they say are foreign nationals. Meanwhile, parliament passed a new immigration bill last month, promising to control the “number and type” of people coming to the UK. The home secretary came under fire for proposing a £30,000 income threshold for EU immigrants. A lot of the debate we hear about immigration is made in economic terms. But it’s also about identity, race and belonging. It can be hard at the moment to imagine that a more humane immigration policy might be possible, but that’s exactly what we’re trying to do this week. Guest host Dave Powell is joined by chief exec of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants Satbir Singh, executive director of War on Want Asad Rehman, and Maya Goodfellow, author of a forthcoming book on Britain’s immigration policies.
Dave Powell, Satbir Singh, Asad Rehman, Maya Goodfellow
In the UK, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. And according to the latest stats, one in eight young people have a mental health problem. One big problem is access to treatment. Mental health services are underfunded, leaving many people stuck on waiting lists. But what are the wider social and economic factors that are causing poor mental health in the first place? Is the economy itself damaging our mental health? Is modern life making us sick? Ayeisha Thomas-Smith talks to Hana Riaz, who is researching the impact of gentrification on mental health, NEF organiser Becki Winson, and our wellbeing researcher Annie Quick.
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith, Hana Riaz, Becki Winson, Annie Quick
In this special edition of the Weekly Economics Podcast from its Archive, the issue of climate change is back on the global news agenda. We explore some of the possible solutions, debate what real action looks like and how those most affected can be the most powerful agents for change. It’s easy to feel defeated when the environmental crises we face are so immediate and huge. But action is urgently needed.
David Powell, Environment Lead at the New Economics Foundation, takes over hosting duties and is joined by Alice Bell, Director of Communications at 10:10, and Asad Rehman, Executive Director at War on Want.
The Bank of England has moved interest rates to their highest level in almost a decade. If you’ve got a mortgage, it might get more expensive. If you’ve got savings, you might get a bit more interest on your money. Does this tell us anything about what the Bank of England thinks is going to happen to the economy? And was it the right decision?
Ayeisha Thomas-Smith speaks to Alfie Stirling, head of economics at the New Economics Foundation.