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Monday, February 23, 2009

We still have more to do to tackle this recession

While there seem to still be new financial and economic events to respond to each day, so that it is difficult to keep track, we need to do some thinking pretty quickly to get ahead of events as best we can.

Labour's National Policy Forum meets in a few days. That will provide a useful forum for the Party to address the challenges before the country. However, delegates will need to think afresh, not about Labour principles of equality and social justice, but about cherished policies they may have been pushing for months. The world has changed.

While we will probably need to focus on how more local organisations can deliver some of the ends we seek, heading down the track towards us is most likely a rapid and significant increase in unemployment. What is the strategy to deal with this, however temporary it may be?

Are we in Labour prepared for government to pay people directly to work, if they cannot find work elsewhere? Where are those green jobs we hope will attract people? We need to get going on these policies. It is bad enough having to work shorter hours or accept pay cuts, but being out of work is much worse. A Labour government should approach a recession in a noticeably different way to a Tory government - the approach to unemployment should be a key element in this.

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