Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has co-hosted an online, cross party, conference on How to Build Back Better after Covid-19, with fellow MPs, leading academics, and an audience of over 300 participants.
The webinar, which was moderated by Channel 4 News anchor, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, included contributions from Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health; Sir David King, former Government Chief Scientist and Chair of the Independent SAGE; Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at Surrey; and Marainna Mazzucato, Professor of Economics and Innovation at University College, London.
The whole conference is available for viewing online at: https://youtu.be/v5e9wp-N1kc
Mrs Abrahams - who is chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Compassion in Politics - co-hosted the event along with Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion; and Bim Afolani, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden; who are the chairs of the APPGs on Climate Change, and, Renewable and Sustainable Energy, respectively.
During the conference, Mrs Abrahams - a former public health consultant and Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health - said: "Poverty and inequality are not inevitable. How we emerge from this tragedy, this pandemic, can make the difference.
"We should recognise the importance of leadership in the political decisions that will need to be made to ensure that we don't exacerbate existing levels of poverty and inequality in our society."
After the conference, she added: "There was a high degree of consensus from this eminent group of panellists on how the pandemic had been responded to, in the UK and internationally, as well as what needs to happen next.
"What was absolutely clear was that another round of austerity would be disastrous for the economy and for ordinary people’s livelihoods and should be avoided.
"In spite of the human tragedy resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic, there were seen to be opportunities.
"The increase in flexible working and of volunteering are just some of the positives. As we are already seeing the labour market is changing, and the Government must step up to support people and businesses, for example, through a New Green Deal or Future Jobs Fund.
"There has to be transformation not mitigation, the old way of doing things has to be seen as part of the problem and we must, as the title of the conference states, ‘build back better’."