The Guardian publishes my letter calling for Citizens' Quantitative Easing
The Guardian today publishes my letter calling for Citizens' Quantitative Easing. The letter was in response to Simon Jenkins' column.
The idea of Citizens' QE will be the idea I present (in 2 mins) at the Pragmatic Radicalism Labour Partyfringe eventon Monday 26 September.
Simon Jenkins says correctly that the objective should be "people spending, shops ordering, factories reopening and services employing"; and a voucher scheme for leisure spending, as tried in the Far East, warrants support. In addition to huge bank bailouts, the Bank of Englandhas printed £200bn through quantitative easing. This was done, we are told, to encourage the banks to lend to the real economy. They are not doing so.
What is required now is not more of the same, but citizens' quantitative easing, which would directly benefit ordinary people doing ordinary jobs, creating real and socially productive economic activity. Citizens' QE could comprise the issuing of a £200 voucher to everyone over the age of 18 which would be time-limited, non-transferable, non-cashable by the recipient and limited to the purchase of certain goods and services from small- and medium-sized enterprises, rather than large corporations. The money used to back the vouchers would be printed by the government and would not require further borrowing. Such a system would cost £9.6bn – small change compared with the hundreds of billions of taxpayers' money already spent propping up the banks. State intervention done in an instant for the City can be replicated on behalf of ordinary citizens.