- Katharine Sacks-Jones of housing charity Crisis reports on homelessness in Coalition Britain.
- Mental health charity Mind explains seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and what the government can do to help those struggling with depression
- Sam Tarry of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association explains how his union is taking the fight to the government in the crucial election battleground constituencies
- PLUS Young Fabian members write about fuel poverty, immigration, and health inequalities
Last week our Regional Outreach Officer, Kyalo Burt-Fulcher, appeared on Sky News to make the case for a living wage. Kyalo argues that, although the new National Living Wage is a positive step, it does not go nearly far enough. He was up against the Adam Smith Institute's Sam Bowman; as you'll see, things get quite tasty towards the end of the interview.
As a follow-up, we asked Kyalo to give some reflections on the debate and on the issue of the National Living Wage itself. Here’s what he said:
Any increase to the minimum wage of £6.70 per hour is a welcome step, given that full time jobs often do not pay people enough to live on. However, the National Living Wage (NWL) so far only constitutes a 50p increase, whereas the Living Wage Foundation calculates an actual living wage (i.e. the amount someone needs to live on) to be £8.25 per hour*, and £9.40 in London. This is because their calculation is based on the cost of living, while the Government’s one is arbitrary and based on getting positive headlines.
Worse, the NLW will not even apply to under 25s. People who are old enough to buy alcohol, get married, and fight on the front line for this country; and have been so for up to seven years! This is the latest in a long line of policies which suggest young people are the least of the Government’s concerns: tuition fees increased, EMA scrapped, housing benefit restricted etc. Meanwhile, pensioner benefits remain completely intact, even for top rate taxpayers.
Of course, these are arguments against the Government’s policy on the grounds that it does not go nearly far enough. However, my co-interviewee, Sam Bowman, does not defend the Government. Instead he takes the laissez-faire view that there should be no increase to the minimum wage at all; citing over 100 studies that apparently show that it will cause unemployment.
The only problem is that they don’t, as he admits to begin with, but then seems to forget over the course of the debate. The fact is that the effects on unemployment will depend on the level at which a minimum wage is set, and the economy it is set within. It is therefore unsurprising that the studies produce a mixed picture; in some cases imposing a minimum wage appears to increases unemployment, in others it has no noticeable impact.
As such, we don’t really know how increasing the minimum wage will affect UK unemployment. The figure repeatedly quoted in the debate was the OBR’s central estimate that by 2020 the NLW would increase the numbers of unemployed by 60,000. However, the OBR’s report (p.206) also notes that the same calculation would produce an estimate anywhere between 20,000 and 110,000, with only a small change to their ‘elasticity of demand’ assumption. When you also factor in the uncertainties around their other assumptions (which the report describes as ‘significant’) it becomes clear that these projections are highly spurious. Indeed, there are even reasons to believe increasing the minimum wage might reduce unemployment. Poorer people will be able to spend more money, thus stimulating economic growth.
Ultimately die hard free marketeers almost always argue against the introduction of any protection for workers (including having a minimum wage at all) on the grounds that this will hamper businesses and increase unemployment. This is transparently incorrect. We live in a time of both near record employment and more comprehensive regulation than ever. If we had listened to Thatcherites and their predecessors, workers would have literally no protection against exploitation but I doubt there’d be any significant difference to unemployment levels. Of all the things that affect unemployment, regulations on business is one of the least relevant; yet I don’t expect to hear the Adam Smith Institute calling for, say, an increase to adult education spending.
So that is the libertarian case; what do we weigh against it? A significant raise for nearly 3 million of our country’s lowest paid workers, and potential rises for around 3 million more on the second rung of pay scales. And remember, these are workers who currently do not earn enough to have what the British people consider a minimum standard of living. Even if the OBR’s guestimate is correct, for every job that might not be created, there are between 50 and 100 of the poorest workers who will definitely get a raise. You can make your own judgement, but I know which side I’m on.
*Of course, the NLW is intended to rise to £9.35 per hour by 2020. Unfortunately the actual living wage is projected to be £10.30 by this point.
Agree? Disagree? Like to give Kyalo a piece of your mind? If so, you can tweet him at @KyaloBF
This Spring, the Young Fabians are launching a new project on defence and security policy. Read on for details of how to apply.
From Daesh to Ukraine, a resurgent Russia to emerging threats such as cyberterrorism, Britain faces a broader range of security risks than at any time since the Cold War.
Running from May to September in parallel with the Labour Party’s own Defence Review, this project will consist of a series of expert speaker events, field trips and discussions.
The Young Fabian Review will investigate what a credible, affordable and ethical defence policy might look like for the Left, working towards a final Report to be published later this year.
How to take part
The project will kick off with a launch event on the 11thof May (more details soon). As capacity allows, events and activities throughout the project will be open to all members.
However, applications are now open for a 12-person 'core group', which will write the final report and organise events and activities across the UK.
To apply for a place on the core group-
- A short essay (between 700-1000 words) answering the following question:
To what extent is the concept of ‘national security’ relevant to Britain in 2016?
- A list of any practical skills or experience you can bring to the group.
The deadline for applications is Monday 2nd of May - please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
- The core group will be gender balanced, with six men, and six women.
- Additionally, six of the places on the group will be allocated on the basis of research and written skills, with the remaining six allocated on the basis of a proven interest in or knowledge of the subject.
- If, for accessibility reasons you need to apply via an alternative method, please get in touch
- Applications from members based outside of London are particularly encouraged
If that looks like a big ask – then it is! We’re looking for people able to commit considerable time and effort, to run some great events, and who are capable of producing a high-quality final report that is rigorous, controversial and influential.
So whether you’d like to apply for the core group or to take part as a YF member, looking forward to having you involved.
Young Fabian Chair, Martin Edobor delivered a speech to University College London Union's Debating Society at their annual Founders Dinner and Debate, alongside Kate Green MP, Chris Bryant MP and Professor Kurt Barling. He spoke in proposition of the motion 'This House Has No Confidence In Her Majesty's Government'. which passed the house with a huge majority.
Speaking in opposition was James Berry MP, Sir David Amess MP, Rupert Myers and Ben Harris-Quinney, Chair of the Bow Group. The motion passed the house with a huge majority, and the Labour Proposition team won.
The UCLU debating society has over 100-year-old tradition of debating the above motion, Martin followed in the footsteps of previous Young Fabian Chair's in speaking at the event.
You Can listen to Martin's speech here.
To kick off the Women in Leadership Series and in recognition of International Women’s Day, the Young Fabians held a panel event with Seema Malhotra MP, Caroline Flint MP and Ivana Bartoletti, Chair of the Fabians Women's Network. The event took place at the Palace of Westminister and was Chaired by Young Fabian Vice-Chair, Ria Bernard.
The panel discussed how we break down the barriers to women taking on leadership roles in politics – both in the Labour Party’s youth movement and Parliament. The Young Fabians will be hosting further events as part of the Women in Leadership Series, so please watch this space.
Listen to the debate here.
The Young Fabians Finance Network, in partnership with Labour in the City and supported by the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales (ICAEW), has launched a new report exploring policy solutions to the barriers women face to equal representation in the City.The report was launched at a reception in the City on March 2nd, at which Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Sharron Gunn, Executive Director, ICAEW, who both contributed to the report, were guest speakers.
“Women in Finance – Is Parity a Pipe Dream?” includes contributions from the CBI, Social Market Foundation, the Women’s Business Council, ShareAction, Mentore Consulting, and The Finance Innovation Lab. Key recommendations in the report include:
- Greater focus on mentoring and sponsorship
- Cultural change to encourage Shared Parental Leave
- Detailed company reporting of gender pay gaps
- Establishing the business case for diversity
- School-based programmes to educate young girls about City careers
- Embracing flexible working with new technology
Sophia Morrell, vice chair of the Young Fabians Finance Network and editor of the report, said:
“In recent months, there has been significant momentum on this issue which is hugely encouraging, particularly with the targeted inquiries of the Women and Equalities Committee, improvements in board representation and the imminent publication of the Gadhia Review. However, there is still considerable work to be done to create a chance of parity for the generation of women entering the industry today.
“We wanted to contribute actionable policy ideas to the discussion from a range of voices, to help policymakers and the industry consider the critical next steps we can all take to bring about change. Financial services are the wheels and cogs of how capital allocation decisions are made in the UK, so the exclusion of women from senior management in the City has serious consequences for the economy and society.”
The report forms part of the new “Women in Leadership” series launched by the Young Fabians to coincide with International Women’s Day – more information is available here.
On Monday 1st February Stephen Kinnock spoke to the Young Fabians, setting out his vision of building a new nation. In his speech, he argued that the Labour Party must first understand why it lost the election, and from this lesson build an economic narrative that is credible and reforming.
Kinnock also called for Labour to be the party of manufacturing, highlighting that the "dramatic decline of our manufacturing sector is the root cause of the structural weaknesses in the British economy". Arguing that manufacturing provides a more even distribution of high-quality, high-pay jobs than our service sector.
On the difficult issue of constitutional reform, Kinnock was bold and direct, stating that "Labour must be the party of radical constitutional reform. With an agenda to decentralise and gives the regions of England representation, fiscal powers and obligations comparable to those of the devolved nations."
Reflecting on his pride of being Welsh, British and European, Kinnock put forward a challenge for the Labour Party to become the party of patriotism. "Labour’s progressive patriotism can re-invigorate our British identity, and from that base enable our country to stand tall in the world, as an actively and constructively engaged partner in the NATO, the UN, and in Europe."
Following his speech, Kinnock entered into conversation with Martin Edobor, Young Fabians Chair. After which he took part in a robust question and answer session with attendees.
The Young Fabians have been intellectually inspired by the vision set out by Stephen Kinnock in his pamphlet A New Nation and we highly recommend you read it.
The Fabian Society have an exciting opportunity, as they are recruiting media and communications manager. Further information about the post is below:
Salary: £22,500 – £27,500 (plus 7% pension contribution)
Hours: Mon – Fri, 10am – 6pm
About the Post
The Fabian Society is seeking a Media and Communications Manager to co-ordinate our communications strategy, promote the society and our activities in the media and develop our digital content. Reporting to the Editorial Director, and working across the whole organisation, the role will have particular responsibility for: planning and co-ordinating future communications; developing and executing media strategies to raise the profile of the Society and our projects; editing the Society’s website, blog, digital bulletins and social media outputs; and leading the production of digital graphics and online reports.
Media and Communications Manager
To plan, co-ordinate and execute media strategies to raise the profile of the Society and deliver influence and impact for our projects.
To develop the organisation’s media relations, including building relationships with key media contacts and supporting and co-ordinating colleagues to do the same; writing and issuing press releases; maintaining accurate information on key media contacts, and being the first port of call for all inbound media inquiries.
To oversee and produce regular media monitoring updates for the Society.
To have lead editorial responsibility for the Fabian Society’s digital presence, including website, blog, social media platforms, digital graphics, e-bulletins for Fabian members and stakeholders; commissioning content from external authors, Fabian members and staff.
To work with colleagues on the future development of the society’s digital communications, in particular our website and e-bulletins
To ensure the timely publication of Fabian online research reports. Editing copy, liaising with authors, managing the project pipeline [and using InDesign desktop publishing software to design and layout reports - DESIRABLE].
To help to shape an external relations strategy – with particular reference to political and
media audiences – and plan and co-ordinate future communications and external activity across the whole society.
To contribute to the intellectual and organisational development of the Society and to contribute directly to Fabian outputs where appropriate.
To represent the Fabian Society and the editorial team publicly, where appropriate.
To undertake other duties where required by the General Secretary and the Editorial Director.
The ideal candidate would:
1. Have a strong knowledge and understanding of politics and current public policy issues, the ability to think creatively about current and future political issues, and experience of working in a similar environment.
2. Have a good awareness of the political media, including key websites, blogs, publications, broadcasters and programmes, and experience of media work.
3. Be able to liaise with key journalists and bloggers, as well as potential writers and contributors,
including leading politicians and public figures.
4. Have a strong understanding of digital communications and evolving trends in website design and social media.
5. Have excellent written English skills and aptitude for editing, copy editing, proof reading, with strong attention to detail.
6. Have experience of the technical elements of website management, including the ability to use content management systems such as Wordpress, and liaise with website developers.
7. Be creative, able to think visually [and ideally have prior experience of hands-on desktop publishing and design software, such as InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator - DESIRABLE].
8. Have experience of taking responsibility for projects from inception to completion and an ability to plan their own work, including the ability to multi-task effectively across a range of projects and to hit deadlines.
9. Be an effective communicator, able to work well both in a small team and independently.
10. Demonstrate creative awareness of how to reach additional audiences and markets for Fabian publications.
11. Have a high degree of competence in a variety of Windows applications and strong IT skills.
12. Be in sympathy with the aims and values of the Fabian Society.
The salary for this position is £22,500 to £27,500 plus 7% pension contribution and 6 weeks paid leave. We work a 35-hour week with contracted hours from 10.00am to 6.00pm.
The Society has an equal opportunities policy and aspires to be an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage applications from people under-represented in politics and at the Fabian Society, including women, disabled people, and people from low-income or ethnic minority backgrounds.
Please note that the Society has the primary right to the professional services of its staff. No outside activities affecting or concerning the Society may be undertaken without the explicit agreement of the General Secretary.
The post is based at the Society’s offices in Westminster, central London. These are non-smoking.
Applicants should email to the address below a CV and a covering letter. The letter must set out: (1) how their skills and experience meet the person specification for the post; (2) why they want to
work for the society and any other reasons for applying.
Your application should arrive no later than 5pm on Thursday 4th of February 2016
We plan to hold interviews between 15th and 19 February 2016. Please indicate any times you are not available for interview between these dates when you apply.
Please apply by email with the subject line ‘Recruitment: Media and Communications Manager’
Tel: 020 7227 4903
The Spending review and Autumn Statement was announced a month before Christmas. This was very apt as the Robert Choate, the head of the OBR, gave the Chancellor the most generous gift one could imagine: £27 Billion of future spending. This leaves the government within it’s self-imposed (and economically questionable) framework for reaching a long-term stability in the public finances.
Where did this money come from? The answer is that OBR assumes that the Government’s cost of borrowing will be lower than previously assumed. This leaves this today’s new spending vulnerable to financial market turmoil. Secondly an increase in money coming from taxes throughout this Parliament.
So what did George spend his Christmas money on? Firstly delaying the pain of the cuts to tax credits until universal credit is introduced in late 2018. While we must thank the hard work of campaigners in the Labour movement for this U-turn, we must prepare for this fight again. Universal Credit is likely to disguise the fact that this chancellor is determined to unwind the last Labour government’s work of fighting poverty.
Secondly, he was able to slow the amount of cuts to public services on the front line. The Police budget, an area, which was going to be reduced to level that, was likely to risk public safety was reversed. But this only protected in cash terms, so any rise in inflation may create dangerous challenge for the police.
Finally, investment was made into vitally needed infrastructure in the north of England such as electrifying Trans-Pennine line and London.
It’s worth mentioning that the tampon tax funds will be given to charities supporting the needs of women; welcomed by all but why should an unjust tax fund essential services? Gimmicky politics is still under the tree at HM Treasury this festive season.
However, there were many losers from today as well. Persons with disabilities receiving Employment Support Allowance will now have more conditions imposed and cut in their payments. The conditions include weekly meetings at job centres. The purpose of having more advisor meetings is unknown. Yet the intent is clear, to achieve fiscal aims of this government at the expense of those who need oursupport the most.
The Labour movement will have to fight to defend needs of millions of ordinary workers but our nation’s direction of travel is clear. The size of state will shrink not only in the size of its resources and like the Grinch in the size of its heart.
On the 21st of November, Young Fabian members from around the country gathered at Fabian Society HQ to vote in the new Executive for 2015-2016.
Martin Edobor, Chair
Ria Bernard, Vice-Chair
Unsa Chaurdri, Treasurer
Ben West, Secretary
Ellie Groves, Editor of Anticipations
Miriam Mirwitch, Partnerships and External Affairs Officer
Bradly Marshall, Policy Officer
Andrea Campos-Vigouroux, Parliamentary liaison Officer
Ade Adeyemi, Young Fabian Exec Member
Amrita Rose, Membership Officer
Babatunde Williams, Social Officer
Kyalo Burt-Fulcher, Regions Officer
During the official business of the AGM a robust debate and discussion was held, chaired by Young Fabian Secretary, Ben West. The AGM voted in favour of a new constitution, with additional amendments which will include
- 50/50 gender balance on the Young Fabian executive.
- Networks have been codified within the constitution
We thank all the Young Fabian members who took part in the AGM on Saturday, this is a new chapter for the Young Fabians and we look forward to what the future holds.