Covid-19: Fairer, Cleaner and More Sustainable Economy

A summary of proposals for policies to reshape the economy following the coronavirus pandemic. This includes recommendations for how the economy could be "fairer" and "cleaner".

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On 11 June 2020, the House of Lords is due to debate a motion moved by Baroness Hayman (Crossbench) that “this House takes note of the case for post-Covid recovery strategies that will contribute to a fairer, cleaner, and more sustainable economy”.

It has already been reported that the restrictions the Government imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in lower global carbon emissions over recent months. Commentators, such as the Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, believe the current situation presents an opportunity to rebuild the economy with lower carbon goals in mind. Proposed policies to achieve this have included calls for financial support packages to require companies to set out how they will achieve lower carbon emissions and for increased investment in digital infrastructure rather than transport infrastructure.

Other commentators have noted the additional pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic on lower income sections of society. For some there is an opportunity to rebuild the economy in a way that reduces inequality and better protects these individuals. For example, the Trades Union Congress has published a report urging increases in the minimum wage and a ban of zero-hour contracts.

The Government has stressed that it is committed to improving living standards and reducing inequalities. It has highlighted policies introduced during the pandemic to protect jobs, help individuals meet mortgage payments and increase benefit payments. It has also reiterated its commitment to reducing carbon emissions, with the goal of making the UK a net-zero nation by 2050. It recently stated it was investing £2 billion in cleaner transport, including cycling and walking.

This briefing focuses on material proposing policies for a “fairer” or “cleaner” economy post-Covid. This includes brief summaries of resources and lists of further reading. Information on the estimated economic consequences of Covid-19 generally and information on income inequality can be found in the following Lords Library briefings: 

  • Lords Research Briefing LLN-2020-0109
  • Author: Russell Taylor
  • Topics: Economy, Environment

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