The Great Recovery: A post Covid-19 deal for Britain
by Edward Davies, CSJ Policy Director
Since our inception, the Centre for Social Justice has worked with individuals in crisis to understand their needs and how government and others can help and enable. The arrival of Covid-19 is a very different kind of crisis to any in our lifetime: global, indiscriminate and fatal. But the needs of individuals emerging from this time remain the same as in other times of crisis. Whether struggling with a disability, overcoming an addiction, or the breakdown of a marriage, there are certain things that all people need to make the most of their potential.
Getting Britain working again must be the first and most crucial priority for government. Work is one of the best ways to help people out of poverty; someone out of work is four-times more likely to be in poverty than someone with an income and a job. But it is about more than statistics and income alone. Work gives dignity and identity. It is a reason to get up each morning. We need to make sure an unemployment crisis doesn’t become a worklessness crisis by making sure the newly unemployed get into work as quickly as possible. We have put together plans for a national system of universal support to go alongside Universal Credit and do exactly that.
But it is not enough to merely provide jobs. The people to take them must be work-ready. That means a government providing the right support at the right time from cradle to grave. Sadly, the last few months have highlighted that there are more basic needs than that for many people. With a third of people recovering from addictions reporting relapses during the lockdown, do we have the services in place to aid their recoveries? Almost 15,000 people were moved into emergency accommodation at the start of the lockdown, no doubt saving many lives, but do we have the will and housing capacity to make this good news story last? And the poor condition of the decrepit prison estate was once again forced into view as prisoners needlessly lost lives in inhuman conditions due to an unimaginative sentencing system. However, any social deal must start long before any individual ends up in prison, in addiction recovery, or on the streets. The Great Recovery sets out a policy programme for almost every part of government, starting with families.
But it is in the long-term that we believe most radical change is needed. Our country needs to establish a new contract between people and the state. Building on work done in Wigan to clearer outline the responsibilities of individuals and provisions of the local authority, we have drawn up a ‘Britain Deal’ to start a conversation on how personal empowerment and responsibility has been shown to be so much more effective than state control over the last six months. This is great recovery we need.
The Britain Deal:
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