By Claire West

According to the Evening Standard ‘The number of people who rely on food banks to stop them from going hungry has rocketed in London and is set to escalate further.’

Thousands of families are in fuel poverty yet British Gas executives are enjoying bonuses that are eye-watering?

Last week in the budget the Chancellor halved the growth forecast for the UK yet promised more of the same in ‘austerity measures’. Understandably the private sector lacks the confidence to invest so isn't it time for the government to be bold?

How about a ‘new deal’? How about some leadership?

Has anyone who has ever run a business decided to cut back to achieve growth?

No — growth requires investment!

As a response to the Great Depression US President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced a series of economic programs which he called "a new deal for the American people".

One aspect of the ‘New Deal’ was the Public Works Administration which paid unemployed people to build schools, bridges and dams. Another aspect was the effective repealing of prohibition, allowing the government to receive taxes from the sale of beer and whisky.

The economic downturn in America was caused by the Wall Street Crash and the depression was psychological as well as fiscal. Roosevelt’s leadership can be summed up in ten words “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" and by doing something, whether it was the right thing or not he restored a level of confidence.

Richard Wolff, author of Democracy at Work recently paraphrased Roosevelt;

Roosevelt went to the wealthy, and he went to the corporations, and he said to them, "You must give me the money to take care of the mass of people, because if you don’t, we’re going to have a catastrophe in this country. We’re going to have a social revolution."

Even renowned capitalist and patriarch of the Kennedy dynasty Joseph P. Kennedy famously said that he would ‘give up half his wealth in order to be assured his family could enjoy the other half in peace and safety’ so worried was he about social unrest.

At last year’s Conservative party conference Osborne told us that the economy is ‘on the road to recovery’ and again reminded us that ‘we’re all in this together’.

I don’t think anyone queuing at a food-bank would agree with you George.