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  • Tom Burgess

Network News 15 July 2022


Hi there, and welcome Network News, your regular update from Real Agenda Radio. I’m Tom Burgess, Thanks for joining us today. Now in today’s show you will hear updates from UK organisations seeking to bring positive change. You can listen and subscribe free to Real Agenda Radio through Amazon, Apple, Google and Spotify and all good podcast providers:


Here are the headlines:

1. Almost half of 16-25 year olds go to bed hungry according to charity Centrepoint

2. More stark indicators on increasing wealth inequality from Resolution foundation

3. Hold this space a new digital platform to address climate emergency launched by Common Vision

4. Government has pledged to expose how much money is lost through overseas tax evasion

5. IPPR launces Fair transition Unit



So lets find out more


Hunger pains

The cost of living crisis is affecting everyone. With an 85% rise in food bank use, food bank owners are struggling; many are now desperate for more donations. Young people are at the sharpest end of the crisis – in the last 12 months, 67% relied on food banks or emergency food provisions to get by. Skipping meals and going days without food are commonplace.


New research published on 20 July by the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint has found food insecurity is having a devastating impact on 16-25 year olds across the UK. The new research shows that over a quarter of the country’s most vulnerable young people have just £20 or less from their monthly income left over. This means that after required rent and essential bills have been paid, there is approximately £4.60 per week left over to pay for food, travel, social and leisure activities. A fifth of vulnerable people have £10 or less.

Centrepoint notes that this intrinsic lack of money is having a very real negative impact on young people’s diets – a third reported they regularly went without food for a whole day due to insufficient funds and 63% lost weight because they didn’t have enough money to spend on food. www.centerpoint.org.uk

Tom’s Take:

Why:Unaffordable housing, low paid work, inadequate welfare support, domestic life threatened by high inequality which leads to bad social outcomes. Urgent support is needed and strong efforts by government and business to ensure affordable housing and high wages, and urgent initiatives to reduce inequality. There are many action we can take, we just need the sense of urgency and political will



A wealth of data on wealth

Owning wealth helps protect against the adverse effects of the cost of living crisis, as rising inflation threatens living standards in the UK as real incomes fall.


On 20 July, a new report was published by Resolution Foundation. Called Arears Fears


This report, the third in an annual series of ‘audits’ of wealth in the UK, uses newly available data on differences in wealth across groups to understand the complicated picture of wealth inequality in the UK, the impact it has on people’s lives and its implications for households as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies.


Key findings

· Since the mid-1980s, the share or wealth held at the top of the pile has been fairly stable, with the richest tenth of families consistently owning about half of total wealth.

· Total household wealth holdings have increased in value from around three-times national income in the 1980s, to closer to eight-times now.

· 32 per cent of families with no savings say they will need to rely on family and friends to cope with income shocks compared to 3 per cent of families with savings in excess of one month’s income.

· Bill arrears are strongly concentrated among low-income families: in 2018-20, 8.9 per cent of financial liabilities (excluding student loans and mortgages) were bill arrears for the lowest income tenth of families



Another great detailed and thorough report from Resolution Foundation, while the results seem fairly obvious it provides more data for urgent action. I am concerned who is listening and more importantly who is acting. A detailed plan is required now as to how these issues can be rectified, instead we get piecemeal interventions which paper over the cracks and fail to address the key issues, that the majority of the country is living in extreme and or sustained hardship. There are actions our government and, business and indeed we could take to make this better, why don’t we?



Climate control

This week sees the hottest temperatures on record in British history. The wellbeing risks and disruption experienced are a stark reminder of the gravity of climate change, something which can often feel slow, intangible and distant for those us who live in the Global North. This is the reality at only 1.1˚C of warming and, unless drastic are taken and necessary changes fast, we're on track for 2.4˚C and many more disruptions to our lives to come. It is normal to feel worried, fearful and angry in response - but harnessed properly, our emotions can also propel us to take determined action, according to think tank Common Vision.


Over the past year, Common Vision has been working with youth-led NGO Force of Nature, academic coalition Climate Cares and a team of psychologists, environmental scientists, communications specialists, policy experts, climate activists and young people, to co-design Hold This Space. The resulting digital platform pilots a narrative change approach and features interviews with a number of young people who discuss their emotional responses to climate change. It also shares insights from environmental scientists to build evidence-based scenarios of a more hopeful, sustainable future. The project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) the UK's largest funder of independent environmental science, training and innovation.

Common Vision is a think tank working to change the narrative around our shared future through the power of positive ideas to unite people around long-term intergenerational goals. The group aims to revitalise public diplomacy by championing deliberative dialogue and encouraging established and new leaders to work together to turn collective social challenges into opportunities.



Bring back our money The UK government has finally pledged to expose how much money is lost through overseas tax evasion. This was a result of a question from MP Margaret Hodge and Answered by Liz Frazer Financial secretary to the treasury on 13 July.


A huge £570bn (that equates to half the UK government budget) is thought to be held by UK residents in tax havens, according to media reports. HMRC faced criticism earlier this year after admitting they’d not attempted to estimate the extent of tax evasion by UK residents overseas.


As Paul Hebden of Tax Justice UK said: The publication of the tax evasion figure – scheduled for next year – will be a big step in the right direction.

Once we know the extent of the revenue lost, we’ll have the ammunition to push for stricter rules and enforcement.


He added: We need a fair tax system to support our public services, so that everyone benefits. Why should the super rich be allowed to stash their wealth abroad without paying their fair share? We also need to make sure that HMRC is properly resourced to go after the money lost to tax havens.


And just to note two more councils Chelmsford and the London Borough of Richmond have both just signed up to the Fair Tax Pledge, promising to take a stand against companies with links to tax havens.

And there are many more councils across the country in the process of signing-up

Councils for Fair Tax campaign



In other news

IPPR have announced a new Fair Transition Unit (FTU). The unit has launched with its first publication, Where next? Uncertainty in transports path to net zero.


According to IPPR the FTU seeks to accelerate progress in reducing emissions and restoring nature, whilst also securing a fairer, more just, and thriving society. Alongside research reports, the FTU will publish blogs on public opinion, communication, and framing on climate change and nature, the first titled: ‘As some politicians seek to divide on climate change, the public remain united’. IPPR said: Although there is much uncertainty over the future of the transport sector, its path to net zero could be better managed with more proactive government policy and investment. IPPR says the report findings reveal that without a guiding strategy we risk further exacerbating injustices in the current transport system. They comment that The Department for Transport approach will benefit only the wealthiest in society, and so, rather than replicating our current system, the IPPR argues that policymakers should instead use the transition to ensure the benefits of the transport transition are fairly distributed.



So what can be done:

While we todays show talk about on campaign success, most news seems to be about more reports on how bad the situation is. I would love to be report more on policy changes and new initiatives to reduce unnecessary hardship. If you have story let us know


Here is one thing that could be done


Do you know you could take 80% of (lower income) people out of paying any income tax and replace it with a 2% tax on the assets of the top 1%. It would be a huge boost for 25 million people, and cause no hardship or lifestyle change to the top 1%, Why don’t we do it. You see, we all create the wealth from the work we do, yet our system means that it is accumulated by a few, instead of being shared more equitably. We need new bold ideas, not variations on old thinking



Outro


What do you think?

Contact us at info@realagendaradio.org or twitter: @realagendanet and via our website realagendaradio.org. We would love to hear your views, if you would like a copy of my book From Here To Prosperity, a new political agenda for a sustainable economy and greater social justice go to www.fromheretoprosperity.org.

You can also follow me Tom burgess on Instagram tomburgess2709 where I post infor related to Real Agenda Radio and the campaiging work I am involved with


You can read a transcript of the show with links to the organsiaions we mentioned on our website www.realagendaradio.org

You can listen & subscribe free to Real Agenda Radio, on: Amazon, Apple Podcasts, Google, & Spotify & more where you will find a range of podcasts for positive change


Listen out for our next bulletin where we will be bring you even more news from those working hard to bring change to our outdated and unrepresentative political system that is failing to serve the country well. We hope you will want to get involved


Network

We know that we can achieve change if we work together, so that’s what we are doing on Real Agenda Radio. The campaign groups and think tanks whose podcasts we distribute has a collective online following of over nearly 1 million. Our challenge to make sure they all listen to Real Agenda Radio. Recent shows include Its Bloody Complicated from Compass, podcasts from Shepheard Walwyn the publishers of the ethical economics series of books and Across the Benches from Compassion in Politics.

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Outro

One thing is certain, people want to see change to a more compassionate and just society as well as more courageous politicians prepared to do the right thing for the people, over party, it’s not happening, but it can, it is urgent, it’s up to us to make it happen.


Fade in music


That’s The Real Agenda, I’m Tom Burgess, thank you for listening and I look forward to talking to you again soon.


Ends


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