It was great to be invited onto BBC Question Time last week. Questions from the audience covered the government’s latest migration policy, its measures to tackle climate change and the drivers and impact of today’s cost-of-living crisis.
On immigration, we discussed the latest government plans to house migrants in ex-military bases instead of accommodating them in hotels.
“A third of the UK’s aid budget is now being spent in this country…because the asylum system is not able to process people fairly…What worries me most of all is… the…short-termism in this rhetoric involves over-promising and under-delivering and ends up stoking a fire of public anger that no politician seems to have any idea how they’re going to put out.“
On climate, the panel talked about whether we can ever get to net zero.
We were asked whether young people should accept they may never be able to afford their own home..
“We’ve got a political system in which short-termism trumps long-termism. We’re scared to tackle inequality. Those who happen to have wealth are seeing their wealth accumulate at greater rates than we’ve seen in history. But young people can’t get on the property ladder.”
Asked about the cost-of-living crisis, I argued this isn’t something that’s out of our hands, driven by unstoppable external forces; it’s an inequality crisis driven by deliberate policy choices that we have the power to change.
“We talk about a cost-of-living crisis here as if there’s some sort of inevitable mechanism, or invisible hand that’s driving inflation. That’s not what’s happening. We have an inequality crisis. It’s happening because of deliberate policy choices not to protect those who are vulnerable, not to raise the minimum wage, not to tax the wealthy.”