Beyond Brexit – Some policy ideas for the Radical Centre

The economic and political disconnect between the people and the powerful can be addressed in a Liberal and Democratic fashion. There is no monopoly of wisdom or one size fits all solution for the range of issues our country faces and we should acknowledge this.

We should aim to make our people ready to embrace and thrive in the next stage of globalisation. Our institutions will need to be more agile and responsive to the needs of the populus. As a party this means embracing some radical solutions and communicating an optimistic message.

What if power to the people meant just that, effective democratic control of the Nations and English Regions over domestic policy leaving a smaller Westminster to handle national taxation, foreign affairs,and defence.Bringing democracy to the House of Lords could finally be achieved by allowing the UK’s historic counties to select two representatives to a new upper house.

A more responsive government is the first element in a radical Liberal future. Embracing the changes technology will throw up will require a sustained, consistent investment in infrastructure, housing, education and skills and a reform of our outdated tax system.

Rather than Corbynite fairy tales about raising revenue, this future could begin with leasing our motorway network with an estimated value of £300bn. Allowing UK pension funds to takeover the network and realise their investment via tolls or smart-charging would release vital capital.

This capital could be deployed for  vital national infrastructure projects for sustained growth, such as :

  1. Green Energy :Battery investment, Tidal Power and Offshore wind to fuel a smart grid
  2. Transport :Sustained investment in Northern Cities,Wales and the West, Rural services and Crossrail 2. A scrappage scheme for petrol/diesel vehicles
  3. Broadband : Ensuring 1 gigabit speeds as standard nationally.
  4. Housing : Free regional governments to build affordable housing for rent

A fundamental overhaul of our healthcare and education system is essential. Devolving health and social care would allow experimentation, investment in preventive medicine and technology. Westminster would merely set minimum standards and run an inspection regime. Education will be a lifelong need in the 21st Century and our policy should reflect this.

An improved tax system should entail ending the sterile debate on taxing individuals or corporations with a realisation that all taxes fall on people. As Beveridge intended, National Insurance should be expanded into a dedicated health and social care tax. Land Value Taxes should replace Council Tax and VAT should become variable. Vehicle and road taxation would be replaced with an Emissions Tax.

This is an optimistic, radical, Liberal Democrat programme that moderate Labour and liberal Conservatives would support that  answers  the fundamental questions our country faces.

* John Armah is a Liberal Democrat member and a digital transformation consultant based in London

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48 Comments

  • Steve Griffiths 14th Aug '17 - 10:52am

    As so many have pointed out over the years on this site (see threads passim), that the phrase ‘radical centre’ is an oxymoron; there is no such thing.

  • “Devolving health and social care”

    To who, exactly, given that the NHS is still suffering from the Lansley fiasco and social care is suffering from central government’s starvation of local government ?

    “Rather than Corbynite fairy tales about raising revenue,”.

    The trouble with this sort of comment is that it’s knee jerk, pejorative and will immediately switch many people off. Much better to give specific reasons why you don’t wish to raise corporation tax which is what was in the Labour manifesto. In any event are you suggesting that there should be no increase in taxation to fund these areas ?

  • John,
    Take no notice of the put downs. You are on the right track (although I disagree with a fair bit).
    There is a path for the UK that is neither Venezuelan Socialism (a la Corbyn) or dog-eat-dog capitalism and debate that annoys some is the way to find it. Ignore their annoyance. The nation is craving radical moderates in the extreme centre. Passions aren’t exclusively hard left or hard right.
    Before the Pavlovian response comes re Jeremy, please don’t bother. I’ve been reading his op-eds in the Morning Star for years and he has been absolutely consistent in his opinions for ever.
    Which is, of course, why I actually like and admire him even though his analysis is generally wrong (but not on everything).

  • Good article, John.

    road pricing via motorway tolls is a proven method of funding transport infrastructure and recovery of ground rents/land value tax for the public purse.
    Vehicle and road taxation is already aligned to an extent with emissions, although this could be more explicit.

    Agree wholly with your statement “An improved tax system should entail ending the sterile debate on taxing individuals or corporations with a realisation that all taxes fall on people. As Beveridge intended, National Insurance should be expanded into a dedicated health and social care tax. Land Value Taxes should replace Council Tax and VAT should become variable.”

  • If the Party is looking for radical inspiration to get out of its current trough of despond it won’t find them in Road Tolls or a complicated form of land taxation.

    The former will be hugely unpopular and divert profits into the privatised provider – the latter will produce general bemusement and provide a fortune to the lawyers. I can’t see either inspiring folk to man the barricades, or more likely, to get out on a wet Wednesday to deliver eve of poll leaflets.

    How about a bit of social justice and an attack on inequality ? Plenty of scope there.

  • Bill Fowler 14th Aug '17 - 1:12pm

    You have to get to the core of the problem, not enough tax receipts and too much spending, hence radical tax and benefits reform in a way that defines fairness. The leftists would just raise taxes even though it probably won’t raise any more revenue because individuals are for the most part taxed out. Rightists would just slash and burn through public spending but end up with an elite running failing essential services. So plenty of room between those two extremes to be radical and in the centre.

  • Peter Martin 14th Aug '17 - 1:18pm

    @ John,

    “Allowing UK pension funds to takeover the network and realise their investment via tolls or smart-charging would release vital capital.”

    Sounds like a sure vote loser to me!

    But there’s no need to involve pension funds. The Govt could just require every vehicle to be fitted with an electronic tag or even introduce number plate reading technology and collect extra revenue itself. It’s still a vote loser though!

    The Government doesn’t need to “release vital capital”. They’ve created over £400 billion in QE recently. They can create as much as they like. When they like. If they overdo it they’ll create too much inflation.

    It really doesn’t change anything if the pension funds are involved. The money spent to make the change will be even more as the fund managers will want their cut. The extra spending will be just as inflationary on a pound for pound basis.

  • Sue Sutherland 14th Aug '17 - 1:47pm

    Yes! This is the sort of thinking we need to produce ideas for a Lib Dem society. Of course, I don’t agree with you on everything but it’s a great attempt and hopefully will encourage more articles here. Personally I think there is an argument to be had about corporation, income tax and benefits but you have given a broad brush approach which we need before we get into detail.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Aug '17 - 2:12pm

    There is an implicit acceptance of the defeat in the 2016 referendum, which should not be accepted, given the gross exaggerations by the Leave camps, the fantasy forecasts, the downright lies, the changed circumstances such as the huge divorce bill which neither side forecast, the effect of the general election result on the government’s confidence, etcetera.
    Add in David Milliband’s subsequent comments.
    There is an increasingly strong case for a referendum on the outcome.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Aug '17 - 2:14pm

    Sue Sutherland 14th Aug ’17 – 1:47pm “Let them eat brioche.”

  • Peter Martin re:
    …“Allowing UK pension funds to takeover the network and realise their investment via tolls or smart-charging would release vital capital.”

    But there’s no need to involve pension funds.

    Actually, the reason to involve the Pension Funds is to enable another economic sleight of hand. It would enable the government to put a monetary value on the network and use that manufactured money to move some pension liability off it’s books…

  • @Richard Underhill “There is an increasingly strong case for a referendum on the outcome.”

    Well given the wallpapering over the cracks in the Cabinet and their recent announcement that Brexit now means leaving the EU and the Single Market – something that wasn’t on the referendum ballot, I suggest there is growing case for a referendum on the Brexit T.May is now going for.

    Obviously, if Vince knows what he is doing, he could use the LibDems in Westminster (HoC & HoL) to get Parliament to use its sovereignty and bridle T.May et al …

  • Laurence Cox 14th Aug '17 - 3:34pm

    @John Armah
    Toll motorways – look at the existing one, the M6 Toll.
    2016: Banks thinking of selling it: https://www.ft.com/content/f298af0e-d01d-11e5-92a1-c5e23ef99c77
    2017: Sold http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40285221
    The only way to make it profitable was for the mortgage on it that paid for the construction to be written off. As it is, traffic on it is nowhere near capacity and well below the predicted levels when it was built. Very few people will willingly pay tolls if there is any alternative and making all motorways tolled will only drive traffic on to other roads (as happens in France).

    If the Government wants to fund investment in infrastructure (which I think is entirely justified) then it can do so by issuing Gilts. Borrowing rates are so low now that this is far better than trying to sell off assets to the private sector.

  • Lot of talk this afternoon of the new party “The Democrats” being launched next month.
    What will be our response? Guess we will fall to 2% if it happens. Is David Millibands article at the weekend in the “Observer” connected? If this launch is planned there must be some support from all sides of the House, yes? Could be an exciting month, September, something our Conference perhaps should make room for, such a launch will be a major attraction, if only for the reaction from Farage!

  • There is such a thing as `Radical Centre` and it’s not an oxymoron. It just means creating new policies that are radical, innovative and pragmatic. First though the Lib Dems have to decide what they mean by `Radical`.

    Here’s a clue – it doesn’t mean old-fashioned `flared trousers 70s style policies` that the Lib Dems seem to be psychologically wedded to that have no relevance to today or just presume that we haven’t moved on from the past.

    For example, apparently being `against Trident` or `against nuclear energy` is neither radical or irradical. It’s just a prediliction for substituting radicalising with worshipping past orthodoxies.

    The Lib Dems now need to cast their minds far into the future and come to tough decisions by first deciding on a vision then thinking toughly about the compromises that intervene in their own orthodoxies. It’s not good enough to believe that everyone else is wrong or `they haven’t seen the light`.

    The main question today is `how does a top ten global economy allow all its citizens to aspire to their full potential in an economy driven by the need to first protect the most vulnerable, second to give people a lift up and thirdly to ensure all those that can can have secure working lives so that they can stand on their own two feet.

  • Here’s my policy suggestion: Reform root and branch the Job Centre Plus. Look at it in reality – some people don’t want to work, some people are hard to place into jobs, others are aspirational yet don’t have the skills or knowhow to get into jobs. Give people a choice either `you can bumble along on £73 a week or you can have the full package of higher benefits with the quid pro quo of a detailed plan that will train you, get interviews and get you into work. This will include work coaches at the Job Centre that actually get people into work and coach them

    This will save millions of pounds in JSA and give esteem to people. The problem is that for it to work the Lib Dems will have to discard their `open borders` psychological crutch, will have to TELL employers (perhaps with incentives) to give British people jobs and also realise that we need to get away from the Zero Hours contract sloppy training culture of work at the botttom end.

    It will ruffle feathers in the Civil Service, the corporate elites. But then I thought that was what the Lib Dems were partly about – smashing orthodoxies and creating new realities.

    The problem is that they have become more conservative than the other

  • John Armah’s main idea seems to be leasing our motorway network and charging for its use which would increase the price of almost everything and push traffic to roads which are not motorways and are still free to use. It might even lead to the poor not being able to afford to use a motorway. A lose, lose, lose situation.

    I wonder what the advantages are in making National Insurance a dedicated health and social care tax. An Emission Tax is likely to affect the poorest, who can’t afford to buy a new car, the hardest.

    All of these ideas seem to be an attack on the poor and those just about managing. No social justice whatsoever.

  • If you are going to toll roads go the whole hog and charge by milage. Each year you get a bill for the mileage you do. Not beyond the wit of man and you could offset it for low users by removing tolls and cutting road tax.

  • @ frankie “If you are going to toll roads go the whole hog and charge by milage. Each year you get a bill for the mileage you do”.

    It’s in force already – it’s called Fuel Tax.

    Simple to collect and gas guzzlers pay more than efficient small cars.

    If you don’t want to pay it, stay in, watch telly (or read John Stuart Mill if you’re a serious centre left, centre right radical smitten with a dose of classical liberalism and a hint of shaken but not stirred orangism,……. left of centre, right of centre, or just plain centre, shake it all about – or, in short, are simply confused.

  • David Raw, Frankie

    I think the idea of charging by mileage is that you could vary the charges according to roads used and time of day, thus, at least in theory, helping to reduce congestion and bringing in extra revenue.

  • Michael BG

    To make National Insurance “a dedicated health and social care tax” would completely change its purpose, which is to provide entitlements such as state pensions and unemployment benefit to those who have made the contributions. Of course, chancellors, most notably Gordon Brown, have increased NI contributions to fund general spending (including the NHS), because they aren’t honest enough to increase rates of income tax to fund necessary expenditure. So you could argue that over time the principles underlying NI have been eroded. Maybe we could just go the whole hog and merge income tax and NI. Either way, if we want an adequately funded NHS, we’ll have to pay for it.

  • Humphrey Hawksley 14th Aug '17 - 9:19pm

    This is an excellent post. John could now take all useful points, prioritise which ones he wants to make happen first, and mould them into policy. Ignore those who reject out of hand. (There is an albatross of naysayers holding back new ideas) My preference would the House of Lords. The party can unilaterally begin reform among its own members and direct them to area representation — two per county.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Aug '17 - 10:11pm

    Two per county is not proportional to the populations of the counties. The minimum for STV is three.

  • Nonconformistradical 14th Aug '17 - 10:48pm

    @MerseyLib
    “I think the idea of charging by mileage is that you could vary the charges according to roads used and time of day, thus, at least in theory, helping to reduce congestion and bringing in extra revenue.”

    So how in practice would you implement it?

  • @ Nonconformist Radical “So how in practice would you implement it?”

    Easy, A man with a red flag (or Orange/Blue in some cases) walking in front of each car with a stop watch, a tape measure, a road map and a note pad (ipad if you have a Merc).

    Great way to reduce unemployment at a stroke…… and who said “governments don’t create jobs, businesses do” ? Yes, it was TCO, who would probably want to privatise it with Uber taking it over..

  • Interesting ideas, but we already have devolved a lot from Westminster, and I wouldn’t say the folks in the Senedd are making a much better job of things.
    It does create postcode lotteries: people on one side of a line on a map get free prescriptions and their neighbours a matter of yards away don’t, for instance.

    And as we look forward to the Severn Bridge tolls finally being scrapped next year, not sure bringing them in on the M4 in general would be a vote winner here!

  • David,
    many new drivers have boxes fitted to their cars to keep an eye on driving, not rocket science to do the same for all cars. I can’t see that flying I’m merely drawing the logical conclusion of tolling motorways, toll everything. Personally I’d prefer another way of paying for infrastructure spend, but then I’m not a classic liberal more of a Keynesian one.

  • I hope I’ll be forgiven for changing the subject to something I personally find quite heart breaking because of my local youthful connections with Batley & Spen but which I think should be noted..

    Very sadly, I have just learned that Bernard Kenny (George Medal) has died at the age of 79. Bernard was the retired miner who heroically tried to save Jo Cox’s life when she was attacked and as a result was himself seriously injured. Back in the 1970’s he was a member of the Rescue team in the Lofthouse Colliery disaster.

    A brave good man who tried to save a much loved and missed Member of Parliament. RIP.

  • Bill Fowler – our average tax rate is still lower than that of our European counterparts, where public sectors tend to exceed 40% of GDP. I don’t see any reason to refuse to raise tax. We must also make the rich actually pay more tax. We can even increase short-term capital gain tax to 38% (a la Hillary Clinton), but reduce or keep the current long-term CGT.

    Oliver Craven, frankie – we can give the government the ability to borrow directly from central bank, although it can threaten the independence of the BOE. Or they can borrow from capital markets. The interest rate is currently very low. You can ask how the hell Obama managed to get a $800 billion stimulus in 2009 even when he inherited a huge deficit from Bush government.

    We can adopt Pennsylvania’s form of land tax, which is one of the closest versions to LVT.
    Historical evidence shows that Pennsylvania is much less prone to housing bubbles and busts, even during the 1990s-2000s.

    Radical? I think that throwing Anglo-Saxon free market capitalism to the dustbin of history and adopt either German social market economic model or Japanese state indicative planning model is far more radical than all the things mentioned in this article. Also, I prefer a return to some form of mercantilism to cut down current account deficit.

    The core of the problem, of course, is productivity. If productivity can rise, things will improve. Trade balance will eventually improve when productivity grow (e.g. 3%) but wage/labour costs rise less (e.g. only 2%).

  • This sounds like privatization. No more privatization please, there aren’t anything left to privatize.

  • Bill Fowler 15th Aug '17 - 7:56am

    “To make National Insurance “a dedicated health and social care tax” would completely change its purpose, which is to provide entitlements such as state pensions and unemployment benefit to those who have made the contributions”

    Nope, NI and income tax needed to be merged into a single tax, benefits and pension then based on residence rather than contribution (people who have managed to be on benefits their own life end up better off with pension tax credit and no council tax to pay so the whole notion of NI contributions is absurd)… or even better get rid of benefits in favour of citizens income.

    I agree with the other poster, fuel tax is fairer and simpler. Not sure how a Liberal can suggest total monitoring of peoples’ location when out and about in their car, BTW!

    Which brings us back to radical centre, how about letting people do what they want with their properties as long as they don’t impinge on other people’s properties rather than having council planners etc snooping around trying to catch people out – free things up where there is no need for local government involvement.

  • In relation to Theakes’s remarks above about the possible launch of a new party called The Democrats, it looks to me as if currently “The Democrats” is a party of one, James Chapman himself, just as many years ago the late John Creasey used to stand for parliament describing himself as the candidate of “The All Party Alliance”, which in reality simply comprised himself. In any case, one only has to think of the fate of the one time Pro-European Conservative Party to conclude that any attempt to launch a new party by a Conservative Remainer is a no-no.

  • Philip Knowles 15th Aug '17 - 9:08am

    We have a view in the UK that taxation is a bad thing and needs to be reduced. The radical view is to propose to increase taxation AND to actually do something useful with it – like we did at the General Election. Corporation Tax in Germany is almost 30% but businesses get high quality services, help with training and high quality employees so they see the value of paying for it.
    Since 2010 VAT has gone up, Council Tax has gone up but what have we got for it – reduced services. Tax to invest in education, the NHS and high quality infrastructure and we’ll all be better off in the long run.

  • Philip Knowles – agree, and Nordic countries as well.

    We can also adopt Pennsylvania’s version of land tax, which works, as a trial version for LVT. Pennsylvania suffered much less from both Great Depression and GFC due to their land tax, which limited housing bubbles.

  • Peter Hirst 15th Aug '17 - 4:55pm

    The challenge is deciding how to campaign on all this within the context of Brexit. The latter will consume most people’s appetite for policy for the next few years at least. The essential thing is to get the best deal we can and however we do it – including working with other Parties. Otherwise we are saying to the electorate we accept the present course. Perhaps we do need a new political Party, depending on the deal to reverse Brexit.

  • Peter Martin 16th Aug '17 - 12:19am

    @Roland,

    “Actually, the reason to involve the Pension Funds is to enable another economic sleight of hand. ”

    Yep. This sounds about right. It’s just going down the same road as those who saddled the NHS with PFI related debts. Supposedly a private finance initiative was a way of creating “public–private partnerships” (PPPs) by funding public infrastructure projects with private capital.

    The Government can always borrow more money ultra cheaply. It’s less than 1% for a 5 year bond at present. So why pay more by involving pension funds and hedge funds?

    Unless there’s some corruption involved there would seem to be no reason at all.

  • Peter Martin 16th Aug '17 - 12:41am

    @ Oliver Craven,

    “The government hasn’t {created £400billion in QE} , the Bank of England has. The Government has very little control over monetary policy other than setting the inflation target”.

    Once upon a time, the totally independent Governor of the Bank of England had a marvellous new idea. Wouldn’t it be good if he created £400 billion of new money and injected into a failing economy by buying lots of old bonds that no-one else really wanted?

    You can finish this fairy story off yourself if you like. The independence of the BoE is largely a fiction. I’m not sure who it is intended to entertain but it clearly isn’t true. It isn’t true for any central bank. They are always creating currency to either keep an exchange rate from rising too much or destroying currency to support its value.

    These, and the extent of any emergency measures like QE, are political decisions that have to be taken by government.

    https://www.mercatus.org/system/files/mercatus-cargill-central-bank-v1.pdf

  • @ James

    There are Liberal Democrats who want to abolish the sanctions regime and we have a policy to remove helping people find work from Job Centres to councils. I favour the government paying for training for the unemployed. Only £3bn is spent on Jobseeker Allowances https://visual.ons.gov.uk/welfare-spending/ (£3801 per individual a year). However it would help if employers didn’t have access to a huge pool of EU workers. I like the idea that for each foreign worker someone employs they have to either employ someone to train up to do that job or pay the government the cost of training a person to do that job. I would like to see large employers encouraged to employ the long term unemployed and those with health issues and fined if they don’t meet the requirements.

    @ Bill Fowler

    Your belief that someone on Pension Tax Credit is better off than a pensioner not on it is wrong. The only way it is possible is if a pensioner does not claim their Pension Tax Credit. The reason is that it is an income related benefit. You are also wrong about pensioners claiming Council Tax Benefit as this is also income related and if a pensioner has an income equal to someone on the guaranteed amount they will receive the same amount of Council Tax Benefits if they both live in the same district council area.

    @ Thomas

    I don’t think Pennsylvania’s land tax is so great. It is set at the county level and averages out at 1.35% or $2,223 (£1,727.89) on an average property value of $164,700 or 3.64% of median income ($61,124 [£47,504.95 which is much higher than the UK average]) http://www.tax-rates.org/pennsylvania/property-tax. The most anyone can get their property tax reduced by is $975 for those over 65 and $650 for the rest http://www.revenue.pa.gov/GeneralTaxInformation/PropertyTaxRentRebateProgram/Pages/default.aspx#.WZOBSyQe7aw.

  • Antony Watts 16th Aug '17 - 10:34am

    The problem is that our UK Government can print as many pounds as they want, to do as many infrastructure projects as they like (e.g. build social housing, care homes or river bridges…).

    The only effect is on our exchange rate.

    Now, if we want to align our economy with others, for example the EU then we have to control our pound printing, and QE… but when this is ignored (for example to spend £1.3tn to bail out banks and our own government, or fill the pockets of the 1%) then things go wrong and we realise that agreements and alignments with other nations (e.g. in the EU) is what we have to do.

    So

    1. Remain
    2. Adopt the euro

  • @ Anthony Watts

    To join the Euro would be bad for the UK. For three reasons;
    The Stability and Growth Pack limits a government’s freedom to run deficits to stimulate their economy;
    Having one currency means there are areas where the exchange is wrong and countries can’t re-adjust their exchange rates to assist their economy, which forces the country to deflate, and countries lose another method to stimulate their economy;
    The EU does not has a coherent central identity which can have economic policies to assist the poorest regions to bring their economy up to the richest (a symptom of this is Germany’s refusal to give Greece the economic assistance it needs).

    The small benefits for business of having a common currency are vastly outweighed by the economic ruin it can cause.

  • Philip Knowles/Thomas,

    agree with you approach to taxation as a means of investing in education, the NHS and high quality infrastructure so that we’ll all be better off in the long run.

    Thomas makes a good reference to “Pennsylvania’s version of land tax, which works, as a trial version for LVT. Pennsylvania suffered much less from both Great Depression and GFC due to their land tax, which limited housing bubbles.”

  • Peter Martin 17th Aug '17 - 7:55am

    @ Antony Watts

    The euro only suits the net exporters of the EU. If money is lost to the UK economy to pay our net import bill the the Govt has to run a deficit. Penny for Penny.

    If you want to buy a £1 Premium bond you are creating Government Debt. Again the Govt has to spend that £1 on your behalf to keep the economy moving. Is it therefore a bad thing for anyone to buy a Premium bond?

    If the UK was in the EZ there would be a 3% limit on Govt deficits. It’s too small. The Govt has to run a deficit so that everyone else can be in surplus. Penny for Penny.

  • John,

    with respect to financing vital national infrastructure projects for sustained growth, such as transport and housing you may be interested in this article by James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2017/07/james-palmer-the-land-value-cap-offers-the-chance-of-more-affordable-infrastructure.html

    He cites the significant disparities in wealth and opportunities that exist across his. Combined Authority area and the urgent need for investment in transport and housing infrastructure.

    He proposes “a Land Value Cap i.e. placing a cap on the extent to which land adjacent to a significant infrastructure project (the M11 extension) could go up in value. For example, the increase could be limited to ten times the original value. The landowner would still benefit financially from the effect of a major development that would not have taken place without the introduction of a Land Value Cap. The purchaser of the land in question, probably a housebuilder, would be able to secure the land at a far lower price than would have been the case without the cap. On purchasing the land, the housebuilder would sign an agreement, agreeing to pay a charge (say £30,000 per house, payable on the sale of the house) to the organisation funding the road construction project which made the housing development possible. This would have the potential of making the project (in this case the M11 extension) a viable proposition.

    The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority does not have the legal authority to introduce a Land Value Cap, so parliamentary legislation would be required. Government action would bring about a large increase in land values and enable house builders to build in areas not previously available. The Government would therefore be justified in using part of this increased value to fund the road scheme which enables landowners and developers to make significant financial gains.

    Connecting Cambridgeshire and Peterborough from North to South is not just about sustaining the Cambridge phenomenon and meeting potential labour shortages. At its heart is a moral mission to combat inequalities relating to the significant disparity in socio-economic opportunities across the area that I represent. Such disparities in wealth and opportunities will only be achieved through bold and imaginative thinking in order to bring about a dramatic improvement in our transport infrastructure.”

  • Lorenzo Cherin 18th Aug '17 - 1:10am

    John writes a very clever and interesting piece, we could do more of this, radical centre stuff and get somewhere with a slate of policies.

    I am a little to the Liberal and social democrat left of one suggestion, the road one. David Raw and Martin are along the right lines on this.

    I am interested in both Davids desire for social justice at the front of policy, agreed, and his critique of land tax is wanted in detail, as I am , even following the many discussions and persuasion, not yet in the camp for or against.

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