Piketty, Stiglitz to advise Britain's Corbyn on economy

More than 50 British Labour party members have been suspended in the past two months over comments deemed racist or anti-Semitic, according to a report, including former mayor of London Ken Livingstone (AFP Photo/Justin Tallis)
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Brighton (United Kingdom) (AFP) - French economist Thomas Piketty and US Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz are to be on a new panel advising British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the main opposition party announced Sunday.

The Economic Advisory Committee will meet quarterly under Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell to develop ideas for the party's economic strategy.

Piketty is known for his best-selling work on wealth inequality, while Stiglitz is a long-time critic of the austerity policies pursued by many Western governments in the wake of the financial crisis.

"I am very happy to take part in this Economic Advisory Committee and assist the Labour Party in constructing an economic policy that helps tackle some of the biggest issues facing people in the UK," Piketty said in a statement.

"There is now a brilliant opportunity for the Labour Party to construct a fresh and new political economy which will expose austerity for the failure it has been in the UK and Europe."

The announcement comes as Labour begins its annual conference in Brighton on the English south coast, after the 66-year-old socialist veteran Corbyn rode a wave of grassroots support to be elected leader, shocking many party insiders.

"Our economy must deliver security for all, not just riches for a few," Corbyn said as the panel was announced.

McDonnell, a left-wing ally of Corbyn's who has advocated renationalising Britain's railways and printing money for state spending, is due to set out his ideas in his first speech to the Labour conference on Monday.

"Austerity is failing the people of this country. Working alongside world leading economists Labour will present the coherent alternative our country desperately needs," McDonnell said in a statement.

Also on the panel are University of Sussex professor Mariana Mazzucato, Anastasia Nesvetailova of City University London, former Bank of England economist Danny Blanchflower, Ann Pettifor of Policy Research in Macroeconomics and the University of Oxford's Simon Wren-Lewis.

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