The letter, run in The Guardian, said the MP for Islington North’s opposition to austerity was a ‘mainstream’ stance also backed by the largely conservative institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The letter said: “He aims to boost growth and prosperity. He voted against the shameful £12bn in cuts in the welfare bill. Despite the barrage of media coverage to the contrary, it is the current government’s policy and its objectives which are extreme. The attempt to produce a balanced public sector budget primarily through cuts to spending failed in the previous parliament. Increasing child poverty and cutting support for the most vulnerable is unjustifiable. Cutting government investment in the name of prudence is wrong because it prevents growth, innovation and productivity increases, which are all much needed by our economy, and so over time increases the debt due to lower tax receipts.”
The mix of signees which includes a raft of Emeritus economics Professors including Michael Burke, Grazia Ietto-Gillies from London South Bank and Malcolm Walker from Leeds University, said: “We the undersigned are not all supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. But we hope to clarify just where the “extremism” lies in the current economic debate.”
With just under three weeks to go until the Labour leadership result is announced, fears Corbyn may split the Labour Party, take Britain ‘back to the dark ages’ as the Daily Mail suggested this weekend or fail to forge a robust opposition are common criticisms.
But writing in The Observer, Corbyn defended his platform and said the government’s “free market dogma” had to be fought with a platform of renationalisation, not sales of £31bn of public assets planned by George Osborne in 2015/16.
Corbyn writes: “Parliament can feel like living in a time warp at the best of times, but this government is not just replaying 2010, but taking us back to 1979: ideologically committed to rolling back the state, attacking workers’ rights and trade union protection, selling off public assets, and extending the sell off to social housing.”