With rising bills and rising temperatures, 2023 was a year of two crises: the cost of living and climate. Whether you’re struggling to afford your mortgage, or stuck in a cold, damp rental, most of us are feeling the effects of our broken economic model. The current government has so far been reluctant to commit to the changes needed to address the huge challenges we face. With an election on the horizon, this year NEF has been working on developing radical solutions and advocating for them to politicians, in the media, and in our communities. Here are ten highlights:
1. A NATIONAL ENERGY GUARANTEE
This year NEF launched our proposals for a radical redesign of the energy system. The National Energy Guarantee would protect people’s essential energy needs, reduce bills and cut carbon. The policy was launched with an exclusive in the Times and was tabled as amendment to the Energy Bill by Clive Lewis MP.
2. TRANSFORMING OUR SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM
This year our analysis has shone a light on the inadequacy of our social security system and been covered by the likes of ITV’s Peston and the Daily Mail. But we don’t just want to focus on the problems. We’re continuing to build the case for a living income and work is underway on piloting a local living income in parts of Greater Manchester.
3. HOMES FOR US
NEF has continued to play a leading role in the Homes For Us Alliance. We’ve worked with other members of the alliance to produce policy reports setting out the solutions to the housing crisis, including making it easier for social landlords to repurpose private-rented homes and reforming property taxes. We won a commitment from the Labour party to remove the cap on social housing acquisitions and contributed to the Liberal Democrats’ pledge to build 150,000 social homes a year.
4. CHILDCARE AND AND EARLY YEARS EDUCATION FOR ALL
This year we’ve started exciting new work on early education and childcare, and have made the case for investment in this vital service. Our latest report, which highlighted over a million children living in”childcare deserts”, was covered in the Guardian and has contributed to calls for a reform of the system.
5. MAKING HEADLINES
NEF spokespeople continued to shape the debate on the economy in the media. With over 80 appearances on a variety of broadcast shows from the BBC to Channel 4, we responded to stories on the economy, housing, the environment and more.
6. NEW ECONOMICS PODCAST: DISCUSSING THE BIG IDEAS
We were delighted to run another series of the New Economics podcast this year. We were joined by a number of fantastic guests including James Meadway, Vicki Spratt, Emily Kenway and Annosh Chakelian.
7. NEW ECONOMICS ZINE: GENERATIONAL DIVIDES
We published the sixth issue of the New Economics zine which explored generational divides in politics and our economy, as well as exploring opportunities for cross-generational solidarity. The zine featured articles from Keir Milburn, Emma Dowling, Roman Krznaric, and many more.
8. BUILDING POWER IN OUR COMMUNITIES
NEF’s organising team have been working with communities across the country to help them build power and make a difference. You can find out more about some of the amazing work they’ve done in Maltby in the Guardian.
9. TACKLING REGIONAL INEQUALITIES
This year NEF has expanded its work with local authorities to tackle regional inequality. We’ve worked with a number of councils from Greenwich to Wakefield to advise them on putting progressive economics into practice.
10. FISCAL RULES IN EUROPE
We’ve challenged the orthodoxy on fiscal rules in Europe. Our new analysis showed that new EU rules restricting government borrowing would prevent all EU countries apart from Ireland, Sweden, Latvia and Denmark from investing enough to meet their Paris climate commitments. The report was picked up by newspapers all over Europe and is used by MEPs.
Find out more about these highlights in our Review of the Year for 2023.