Act now

A vision for a better future and a new social contract

By Common Sense Policy Group, Kate Pickett, Richard Wilkinson and Danny Dorling

Act now
Hardcover +
  • Price: £8.32
  • ISBN: 9781526180759
  • Publish Date: Jun 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback +
  • Price: £8.32
  • ISBN: 9781526180766
  • Publish Date: Jun 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £8.32
  • ISBN: 9781526180780
  • Publish Date: Jun 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-8078-0
    • Published Date: June 2024


    An inspiring manifesto offering a radical vision for our political future.

    We live in an age of crisis and decline. The right presents 'solutions' that only worsen the situation, driving a downward cycle in which desperation leads to despair. But the left is also to blame: progressive politicians have consistently failed to recognise both the urgency of people's need and their receptiveness to new solutions.

    In Act now, a team of leading researchers presents a compelling and achievable vision for a progressive future. They outline clear policies for welfare, health and social care, education, housing and more. Arguing for a rolling forwards of the state, they call for a new era of active citizenship and economic democracy, grounded in robust and resilient institutions.

    Only a comprehensive and integrated approach, based on clear evidence of feasibility and popularity, can provide a pathway to the secure, democratic and prosperous Britain of tomorrow. This book is the blueprint. It calls on politicians, pundits and the British people to act now.


    'An insightful, compelling and thoroughly researched discussion of some of the deepest problems with our economy today, and the progressive policies that could help to solve them.'
    Grace Blakeley, author of Vulture Capitalism

    'With the Labour Party timidly reversing even modest commitments, this book is full of ideas that can fill the vacuum.'
    Guy Standing, author of The Politics of Time

    'A really valuable attempt to do something different, thoughtful, clever and timely.'
    Henrietta Moore, Founder and Director, UCL Institute for Global Prosperity

    'A clear and bold articulation of the new social settlement that this country so badly needs.'
    Will Stronge, Director of Research, The Autonomy Institute

    'People know we can't go on as we are. So the more ideas pouring out like this will greatly help set the direction of travel of our political debate.'
    John McDonnell MP

    'An inspiring, imaginative and radical vision for Britain's future, equal in ambition to the challenges the country faces.'
    Peter Jones, Emeritus Professor of Political Philosophy, Newcastle University

    'Before it finalises its manifesto, Labour should read this book. It's packed with ambition and ideas. They may not all be feasible in one go, but here's an agenda that could deliver the better society most people are hungry for.'
    Stewart Lansley, author of The Richer, The Poorer

    'Act now identifies a new direction where need replaces greed in a social contract that would protect the British public and guarantee freedom from the preventable harm created by ideology.'
    Mo Stewart, author of Cash Not Care: The Planned Demolition of the UK Welfare State

    'The bad news from the start of this book is that Labour's leadership have often seemed committed to maintaining a dysfunctional, divided country. The good news is that there are millions of people who believe in a new settlement of public cooperation, a reformed economy, a health system really serving those who need it, an education system no longer based on competition and fear and many other reforms that could transform the country into a "green and pleasant land" for everyone.'
    Sally Tomlinson, Emeritus Professor, Goldsmiths, University of London

    'A genuinely radical and comprehensive plan to rebuild our society, economy and democracy from the ground up. This book is unusual in that it combines a bold overarching vision with detailed, evidence-based policy proposals and demonstrates that they are popular with the public. The question now is whether our politicians are prepared to listen.'
    Will Snell, Chief Executive, Fairness Foundation

    'Act now is not just a vision of how Britain could and should work in the future, but also a damning indictment of how we have ended up in our current mess of permanent existential crisis. Read it if you want to see what real pragmatic reforms could do and use it to remind yourself that there was a time when our politics wasn't inert, ineffective and indolent'.
    David Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Criminology, Birmingham City University and former Prison Governor

    'The ideas in this Report can form a basis for united campaigning by trade unions and other social movements seeking real solutions to the mess we are in.'
    Mike Phipps, LabourHub

    'This book is full of popular, credible and common sense policy ideas.'
    Taj Ali, co-editor of Tribune magazine


    Foreword by Rowan Williams
    Part I: The setting
    1 What did Beveridge do for us?
    2 What government should do
    Part II: The policies
    3 A social safety net
    4 A Green New Deal
    5 Public utilities
    6 Health and social care
    7 Healthy and flourishing children
    8 A fairer education system
    9 Housing
    10 Transport and infrastructure
    11 Democracy, power and security
    Part III: Making it happen
    12 A new economy with a fully costed and fully funded plan
    13 Conclusion and a call to action


    Common Sense Policy Group is a collective of leading figures from academia, politics and industry who share a common belief in the need for pragmatic reform to end our era of crisis. The group includes Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, authors of The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, and Danny Dorling, author of Shattered Nation.

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