UK chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to set up a national infrastructure bank to “channel billions of pounds into capital projects” (Report, November 21).

We write to urge the chancellor to broaden his vision. The regeneration of Britain’s “national infrastructure” must include investment in “social infrastructure” such as childcare, schools and universities, regional theatres, orchestras, common spaces and local sports.

The pandemic has shown these economic activities are just as vital to society and the economy as the physical infrastructure of asphalt roads, green energy and safe bridges. And research demonstrates that investment in care has multiplier effects many times those of investing in construction, while generating far fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, these investments can be kickstarted in less time than construction projects.

Under-investment in social infrastructure before the pandemic was a false economy; it would be even more so as we move into the recovery phase. Channeling money into Britain’s social infrastructure and especially into its care, education, arts and training sectors would create jobs, generate income for workers, the Treasury, and the wider economy, and contribute to a more robust and sustainable economy.

Patrick Allen, Danny Dorling, Susan Himmelweit, Ann Pettifor, Robert Skidelsky, Carolina Alves, Daniela Gabor, Stephany Griffith-Jones, Will Hutton, Michael Jacobs, Sue Konzelmann, Natalya Naqvi, Kate Pickett, Josh Ryan-Collins, Guy Standing, and Jan Toporowski (Council Members of the Progressive Economy Forum London NW1, UK)

December 11th, 2020

 

For a PDF of the letter and a link to where it was published in the Financial Times click here.

 

Image of men in hard hats used in the original Financial Times Report to which this letter is a response