Making Sense of the Coronavirus crisis

Millions of the poorest and most vulnerable will feel the greatest impact from this health crisis. The majority have no funds to self-isolate and feel pressured to go in to work where poor health and safety practices still operate. While we rely on the Government to organise our infrastructure to support us through this crisis, huge gaps in need are exposed.

As a matter of urgency People’s Assembly supporters need to make contact with affiliates, Trades Councils, Unions and local neighbourhood groups. We want to know how the crisis is impacting our communities, what the gaps in need are and to help make sense of what is happening. 

  • Use the contact details to lets us know what is happening in your area. 
  • Look out for online events organised by your local group. 

Making Sense of the Crisis

Please join us for our online event with Laura Pidcock, Lindsey German, Grace Blakeley and workers on the frontline. We will take online questions and comments.

Laura Pidcock teams up with People’s Assembly to defy Johnson’s Tories

The roots of resistance exist, say campaigners, but they need to be strengthened into a movement

There is one thing of which there can be little doubt: a Tory government with a substantial Commons majority will face the labour movement with serious challenges.

In their first weeks in office Boris Johnson’s Tories have already broken up picket lines, stripped workers’ rights out of the Brexit bill, and designated climate protestors as terrorists.

No one should imagine that there isn’t more of this to come. But neither should we think that a Commons majority is the same as popular support outside Parliament.

The Tories won with the same kind of numbers that voted Labour in 2017. But they got more MPs because it takes on average just 38,000 votes to elect a Tory MP and 50,000 votes to elect a Labour MP.

The roots of resistance exist. But they need to be strengthened into a movement.

The People’s Assembly is very pleased that Laura Pidcock, one of the most powerful and effective voices in the labour movement, has committed herself to our campaign to rebuild resistance to the Tories.

‘There is real potential here’, says Laura, ‘if we campaign hard over workers’ rights, climate change, and rebuilding the services working class communities need. There is no reason why we can’t defeat Boris Johnson and most importantly the hard-right ideas he represents, building a case for a different political system and then making that happen

And while there are several theories out there about why Labour lost, almost no one argues that Labour’s radical economic and welfare policies were unpopular with voters.

The People’s Assembly believes that we have the resources and the willingness to mount the kind of fightback that working class communities desperately need. But that needs the whole of the working class movement and the left to unite together.

Trade unions, social movements, climate activists, Labour Party members and socialists…we all need to regroup, reorganise, and re-root ourselves in the communities from which we come.

Our aim is to link major mobilisations against the Tories with local work that aims to rebuild the presence of trade unions and social movements in local communities.

We need to sustain the broad vision of social transformation that has characterised the movement in the last four years but fight to reconnect it with a wider base of activists and supporters in every town and city throughout the country.

We hope you think that this is the right strategy for times that will test our mettle. 

We certainly can’t hope to make progress without your support. So please do support our work financially by donating here. But most of all forward this newsletter and ask people to sign up to keep in touch and join us in action.
Please do get in touch to tell us about your local campaigns and to discuss how links with The People’s Assembly can be developed at

Solidarity from The People’s Assembly Team.

Lessons from a decade of failed austerity

New analysis published by the TUC this week has revealed just how much a decade of cuts has harmed millions of lives

We all need good schools and hospitals, safe neighbourhoods and a decent home. Parks, sports centres, libraries and colleges are important too – they help people flourish.

But new analysis published by the TUC this week has revealed just how much a decade of cuts has harmed millions of lives.

It also shows that working class families have lost most. Because when services are cut, only the wealthy can pay for private services instead. Working-class families simply lose out.

That’s why we’re calling on the government to rebuild and restore our public services, so that whatever your background you get a fair chance in life too.

Widening class gap

The new analysis by Landman Economics shows that the working classes have lost most from a decade of public services cuts.

The figures below are for England, and the services included in the analysis are health, schools, early years, social care, housing and police.

Impact on households

Families in the lower half of household earnings have lost services to the average value of £696 (annually), compared to £588 for those in the upper half.

The largest losses were for the lowest earning decile of households, at £829, closely followed by the second lowest decile at £794.

However, financial value alone does not tell the full story. Wealthier households can more easily absorb these losses by paying for services in the private sector. But low and middle-earning households are much less able to afford it.

The relative impact is shown more clearly when the losses are presented as a proportion of earnings, as in the chart below. For the lowest decile, the cuts are equivalent to almost a fifth (18%) of their earned income, compared to just 0.4% for the highest decile.

Impact on life chances

Cuts to services affect not only quality of life, but also future life chances.

High-quality provision of services like education, health, disability services and social care can make sure that everyone has a good childhood a decent quality of life. 

Other services allow people from working class families to gain experiences that only wealthier households can afford through private incomes – such as parks, recreation centres, youth clubs, libraries and cultural events.

Reverse the cuts

It’s clear that the last decade of services cuts are widening the class gap.

Everyone deserves to live near a good school or hospital, not just the wealthy. It’s time to reverse the cuts and rebuild our once proud public services.

Lessons from a decade of failed austerity

Full report here.

A decade on from the global financial crisis, the British economy faces increased risk of renewed recession. Alongside weak domestic growth, global economic growth is at its weakest since the crisis and the risk of a no-deal Brexit remains high.

Any preparation for recession must involve learning the lessons of the government response to the last one.

This paper shows how the cuts imposed after the last recession, both in the UK and in much of the developed world, harmed economic growth, with a heavy impact on workers’ pay.

Overall, pay growth has halved across OECD countries in the decade since the GFC. In real terms, annual pay growth has been below one per cent a year for two thirds of countries.

Policymakers and politicians wrongly attribute this entirely to ‘productivity’, despite a failure to find convincing supply-side explanations for the change in growth at a time when controversial policies are acting on demand.

Calls for government expenditure in the face of renewed recession are already widespread, but ‘austerity thinking’ still constrains the options for fiscal policy going forwards.


  • The government should ask for an independent review of how the Office for Budget Responsibility and Bank of England judge the impact of government expenditure on the economy, assessing the critical assumptions on multipliers, the output-gap and the ‘NAIRU’ given the international experience of the austerity decade.
  • Immediately deploy fiscal policy to support aggregate demand according to this changed view, expanding government (current) expenditure on public sector salaries and services.
  • Fast-track increases in public infrastructure spending to the OECD average of 3.5 per cent of GDP.
  • Increased expenditure should be financed by borrowing rather than increased taxation in the first instance. This is not equivalent to deficit spending, as a stronger economy will improve the public sector finances.
  • Use fiscal policy as part of a wider plan to deliver sustainable growth across the UK, including investing in the public services families rely on, the skills workers need for the future, a just transition to net zero carbon emissions, and giving workers a real voice at work. 

Meet author of book on austerity – Tues 29 Oct.

Nathalie Olah will be speaking about her new book, Steal As Much As You Can (How to win the culture wars in age of austerity)

Tuesday 29th October
at Black Gull Books
East Finchley,
121 High Road,  N2 8AG

Event starts at 7.30pm.
Talk will be followed by a Q&A and book signing

Registerhere at Eventbrite.

About the book…..

For many, the 2010s have been a lost decade.  

Tory austerity has created suffering for millions, as well a generation beset with financial insecurity and crisis. Yet our TV, film, music, art and literature have never looked so rich, or so posh. During a period of immense struggle, the experiences of the majority have been pushed to the margins of our collective culture by the legacy media and its satellite industries – making it hard, if not impossible, to challenge those in power.

Steal as Much as You Can is the story of how this happened, exploring the rise of affluence in mainstream storytelling, and the corrosive effects of neoliberal and postmodern culture. By rejecting the established routines of achieving prosperity – and encouraging us to steal what we can from the establishment routes along the way – it offers hope to a bright and brilliant generation whose potential has suffered under these circumstances. A generation who, through no fault of its own, has become increasingly frustrated by our increasingly unequal society.

Stolen by Grace Blakeley: Political Education and Building Power

For decades, it has been easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.

Register here.

In the decade leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, booming banks, rising house prices and cheap consumer goods propped up living standards in the rich world. Thirty years of rocketing debt and financial wizardry had masked the deep underlying fragility of finance-led growth, and in 2008 we were forced to pay up.

The decade since has witnessed all kinds of morbid symptoms, as all around the rich world, wages and productivity are stagnant, inequality is rising, and ecological systems are collapsing.

Stolen is a history of finance-led growth and a guide as to how we might escape it. We’ve sat back as financial capitalism has stolen our economies, our environment and even the future itself. Now, we have an opportunity to change course. What happens next is up to us.

Event Details:

UCU MDX Branch, MDX Politics Dept & Hendon Labour Party are delighted to host writer, broadcaster and policy expert Grace Blakeley as part of the book launch tour for Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation.

Grace Blakeley is a research fellow on the IPPR‘s Commission on Economic Justice, commentates on economics for the New Statesmen and has appeared on numerous political and current affairs programmes.

A panel of UCU, Politics Dept and Hendon Lab members will discuss the themes of the book followed by an audience Q&A and a book signing.

Event Location:

The Boardroom: C219. 2nd Floor. College Building. Middlesex University. NW4 4BT

Ask at reception to the left inside the main doors for directions if needed.


Tube: Hendon Central

Thameslink: Hendon

Buses: 143, 183, 326, 643, 653, 683

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