Jimmy Reid Foundation report on reconstructing economy and society in the post-pandemic period

Today, the Jimmy Reid Foundation launches its new report:

Reconstructing Scotland after the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis: learning the lessons of the pandemicclick hear to read report

As pressure for a return to previous ‘normal’ patterns and levels of working and economic activity increases, the Jimmy Reid Foundation today publishes a contribution to the process of reconstructing the economy and society on a progressive basis in the post-pandemic period.

With contributions from leading figures on the left in Scotland, the paper outlines a number of areas where a ‘new common’ sense can be established so that the necessary ideas are available to ensure there is no return to the rack and ruin of before or the ‘business-as-usual’ approach from government and employers. Over and above that, there is also the need to confront the danger that the neo-liberals will use the crisis of a massively increased national debt and deep economic recession to push for further marketisation and privatisation. The paper, inter alia, asks

  • if the state can intervene in the economy through the Job Retention Scheme whereby 80% of wages up to a value of £2,500 per month are guaranteed, then why cannot the state in other times guarantee such a level of income to all and prevent destitution through unemployment?
  • if the state can enforce rules and changes in consumer behaviour and preferences that have seen a huge reduction in pollution levels as a result of far lower emissions from airplanes and cars, why cannot the same actions be taken to effectively respond to the climate emergency?
  • if rough sleepers can be given emergency accommodation, why can the state provide housing for homeless people in the pandemic but not before or, as is likely, afterwards?

Professor Gregor Gall, director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation commented: ‘The COVID-19 crisis has revealed that our economy and society are far too much based on money and markets. That makes them not only very fragile but also very much lacking in fairness. The paper is a contribution to setting our economy and society on the right road to a recovery which is equitable and just’.

The paper comprises an introduction and sections on the following:

  • Health and Social Care by Dave Watson, Secretary of the Socialist Health Association Scotland
  • Universal Basic Income by Professor Mike Danson, Chair of the Citizen’s Basic Income Network Scotland 
  • Climate and Just Transition by Dr Eurig Scandrett, University and College Union (UCU) Scotland’s representative on the Just Transition Partnership
  • Public Transport by Gordon Martin, Regional Organiser for the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union in Scotland
  • Damaging Freedom of Information by Carole Ewart, Convener of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland
  • Higher Education Governance by Dr Eurig Scandrett, UCU activist, Queen Margaret University
  • Valuing Civil Servants by Lynn Henderson, national officer for the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union

About the Jimmy Reid Foundation

Established in 2011 by the Scottish Left Review, the Jimmy Reid Foundation (JRF) is an independent ‘think tank’ and advocacy group focussed on producing practical, policy proposals for transforming Scotland based upon analysis and investigation of the current Scottish and global political, cultural and social situation. Visit our website http://reidfoundation.org/ to see our policy papers and news and follow us twitter @ReidFoundation.