LibLink: Vince Cable: Brexit’s real life impacts are already hitting the UK hard

Vince was up in Edinburgh this week (not, contrary to some reports, flying business class and staying in luxury). After an early start to do budget media stuff, he voted on the budget at 6:30 or so and caught a flight an hour later. He and Christine Jardine got to the Edinburgh West dinner at about 9:45 and both were in sparkling form.

In fact, I think that the speech Vince gave was better than his Conference speech. There was none of the schoolboy, carry-on style humour, and just a very simple, effective liberal message. He talked about needing to be honest with people about the future funding of public services – we will need to pay more tax. He talked about Brexit and our desire to stop it too, but he had plenty of vision about helping those who need it most – putting more money into Universal Credit and stopping its rollout until the problems with it are sorted out. He talked of his surprise that Labour had abstained on he Tory tax cut for better off people as he led our MPs to oppose it.

Timed to coincide with his visit was an op-ed in the Scotsman which he used to describe the detrimental impact that Brexit is already having on us:

Take Jaguar Land Rover. This great British brand employs 40,000 people in the UK and has just suffered a sales slide of 13 per cent, in large part because of the uncertain landscape of Brexit. JLR’s management has been clear about the risks of cutting ourselves off from our European neighbours and business partners. JLR is cutting jobs and has been forced to pause production. This is the real-life impact of Brexit. And what Scots are missing out on under current leadership is the creative thinking to make real change happen. After a decade of the SNP, growth is flimsy and productivity is lagging. It couldn’t be clearer that investing in people through education and mental health is the way to make the most of the talents we already have right here on our doorstep.

And he emphasised that Brexit is not inevitable:

The march proved a crucial point: Brexit is not inevitable. Where there is public and political will, there is a way. We can still secure an exit from the Conservatives’ chaotic Brexit through a People’s Vote.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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16 Comments

  • nigel hunter 4th Nov '18 - 10:47am

    The way he got to Edinburgh should be pointed out in no uncertain terms ie strong language and what he said mentioned on facebook etc. Whilst we are the nice party that does not mean we cannot have a sting in our tail.

  • Katharine Pindar 5th Nov '18 - 9:04am

    How many of these proposals have we adopted as part of our own policies, and how far do we oppose them, please, Joe?

  • Peter Martin 5th Nov '18 - 10:19am

    ” we will need to pay more tax.”

    Possibly. We would only, though, need to pay more tax to cool an overheating economy. And that would be a good problem to have!

    But is it really overheating at the moment? Even if we spent more on the NHS and gave more to councils a lot of that Govt money would come back as extra tax revenue as the extra spending stimulated the economy.

    So why try to counter a problem that doesn’t even exist? Especially as it will likely cost you votes.

  • Katherine,

    the Mirrlees review recommendations have yet to be adopted by any party. They are based on economc efficiency, neutrality and equity in the tax system and aimed at increasing overall social welfare. Unfortunately what is rational will not always politically possible, at least in the short-term and we get stuck with a hodge podge of a tax system.

  • Peter Martin,

    the need for tax rises comes about as a consequence of the dependency ratio i.e. the % of the population dependent on the working population. As the proportion of retirees grows year by year, a greater level of resources need to be allocated to the delivery of health and social care services. If these services are provided via the NHS (as opposed to the private sector) taxes will need to be increased to reallocate Labour and capital from private consumption to public service provision It sees quite likely that a significant element of the tax raising will have to come from taxes on wealth accumulated the older generation or there will be less provision of social care to retirees with savings and housing equity.

  • Katharine Pindar 6th Nov '18 - 12:28am

    Thank you, Joe, but I had supposed that our party would perhaps be advocating the combination of national insurance and income tax, and also the much-needed reform of council tax, which, like the utility bills, is such a burden for ordinary people. I know we passed at Brighton in the Wealth motion a demand to create additional higher council tax bands, but the motion only suggested then ‘reviewing the case for replacing council tax with a simple percentage-based annual property tax based on up-to-date valuations’. Why do you think we agreed merely ‘reviewing’ such a widely advocated reform?
    (Small additional request, please can you spell my name correctly with the central A?) Many thanks.

  • Katharine Pindar 6th Nov '18 - 1:12pm

    Thanks Joe, I will study this. I presume then that we as a party need to take more detailed consideration of tax policies, so as to propose more subtle measures than just our favoured ‘Add penny on income tax for’ whatever is the most needy cause, currently health and social care.

  • Peter Martin 6th Nov '18 - 1:41pm

    @ Joe,

    Of course the dependency ratio is an important factor in the economy.

    But it doesn’t change the fact that money is the creation of Govt. The Govt first spends money into the economy and gets some of it back in taxes. It can’t get more back than it spends for the simple reason that the taxman will only accept Govt money. He won’t accept Bitcoins or pounds supposedly created by the commercial banks.

    The Govt has to be in deficit. That’s not really a problem. The potential problem is overheating and possible inflation if Govt overdoes the spending. That’s the time to cool things down with higher taxes.

  • Katharine Pindar 9th Nov '18 - 9:43am

    Polly Toynbee’s hard-hitting article in the Guardian on Tuesday about the necessity of British people being ready to pay more tax included a phrase, that ‘no party dare touch’ taxing inheritance. Objecting to this, I sent Polly an email to tell her about our policy passed at Brighton, Promoting a Fairer Distribution of Wealth, quoting sections of it including the proposal to abolish inheritance tax and instead tax recipients at income tax rates and ensure that all transfers are subject to tax. I suggested she read the whole policy on our Website, and that our thoughtful policies deserve publicity. She has replied, ‘Apologies. I entirely agree with this policy.’

    Thanks for drawing our attention to Polly’s article, Joe B. She is an ally really, but a bit neglectful of us.

  • Peter Watson 9th Nov '18 - 10:54am

    @Katharine Pindar “our thoughtful policies deserve publicity”
    It’s a shame that instead of such meaty issues, publicity and media coverage of the Brighton conference was dominated by speculation about Gina Miller’s party leadership credentials and Vince Cable’s “exotic spresm”! 🙁

  • Katharine Pindar 9th Nov '18 - 9:57pm

    We did indeed pass several substantial ‘meaty’ motions at Brighton, colleagues, which I am proud to help publicise. We should certainly be pressing the more serious columnists of the quality papers to take note of our proposals, so that there is more chance of them feeding into national acceptance and being carried out, which could happen quite rapidly at a time of major fluctuation in the political landscape.

    But I suppose, Peter, reporters will always go first for the personal story, and it can be publicity we wouldn’t otherwise get. Irrelevantly and irreverently, I think I shall always cherish sightings of Exotic spresms now! 🙂

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