“Coronavirus must not lead to a new homeless generation.” Gordon Brown writes for The Big Issue
Gordon Brown has written exclusively for The Big Issue magazine to explain why the nation must band together to prevent mass unemployment and why his new campaign, The Alliance For Full Employment, is the way forward.
Brown writes: “Coronavirus must not lead to a new homeless generation. For 20 years The Big Issue, governments and community groups have worked to end rough sleeping and when investment was made and determination demonstrated we proved that we could make a difference.”
He continued: “Now we face a new challenge. The ban on evictions, which should not have been lifted, has come to an end… All too often being homeless also means being jobless. Like The Big Issue our Alliance for Full Employment wishes to end both. The best route out of both poverty and homelessness is a job, and to fight to save and create jobs is the mission of the Alliance for Full Employment. Our jobs alliance complements the Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA) pioneered by The Big Issue and some well-known and respected charities and companies.”
“The Chancellor’s newly announced Winter Recovery Plan offers nothing new for the 1.5 million currently unemployed, nothing new for the 900,000 on Universal Credit who will soon be registered as unemployed and nothing new for the three million excluded from the furlough scheme as self-employed.”
“But the most glaring omission is an improvement to the inadequate Kickstart programme for young people. While Kickstart will take on 350,000 young people for six months, there will still be 500,000 under-25s falling through the net and condemned to the breadline; a lost Covid generation with no work and no hope. This is not the levelling up promised by this government.”
Brown concludes: “Yet mass joblessness, mass homelessness and mass hopelessness are not inevitable economic outcomes of the Corona pandemic. They depend on the decisions government make. We may not yet have a vaccine to stop the spread of the virus. But we do have the economic know-how to stop the rapid spread of unemployment. It’s why the Metro Mayors of the city regions of Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield, London and Bristol have come together with the First Minister of Wales, with trade unions, business leaders and religious leaders in an Alliance for Full Employment.”
“Our message is clear: by all nations and regions coming together and uniting to fight for jobs we CAN conquer unemployment.”
Paul McNamee, Editor of The Big Issue, said: “The need to come up with smart, swift and telling solutions to the crisis that lies ahead for so many is urgent. As PM in 2008, Gordon Brown helped saved the global financial system. To have him promote and back what The Big Issue is doing with RORA is an important and significant intervention. We thank him.
“As a society we need to make sure that while Covid endangers the lives and livelihoods of so many, those of us who can do unite to prevent homelessness spiraling. It’s the battle of our time.”
Big Issue vendors have returned to selling the magazine across the country. However, with footfall significantly lower on many high streets, Big Issue vendors need your support now, more than ever. Please support them by buying a copy of the magazine. If you don’t have a local vendor, you can support The Big Issue by downloading the app, available on Apple Store and Google Play, or subscribe online.
For more information on The Alliance For Full Employment go to www.affe.co.uk
For more information on the Ride Out Recession Alliance visit www.bigissue.com/rora