Tag Archives: economic reform

9 May 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dem manifesto sets out vision for the UK in the EU
  • Swinson: We need to give our economy a new purpose
  • Corbyn has trashed the hopes of Remainers
  • Lib Dems are strongest Remain voice for Peterborough (covered here)

Lib Dem manifesto sets out vision for the UK in the EU

The Liberal Democrats will today launch their manifesto for the European elections, setting out a vision for the UK inside the EU.

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable, who will be joined by colleagues at the launch in London this evening, said the manifesto is a “blueprint for what the UK …

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The Liberal Plan for Worker Co-Ownership

During the 2018 Labour Conference delegates passed a policy motion in which the workers of any given company would be entitled to own 10% of its stock. This, on the face of it, is not something that liberals would be entirely against. Indeed, it was David Lloyd George who, in 1908, settled a rail strike by creating boards which were formed between worker groups and the bosses on an equal parity – 50% worker, 50% bosses. The whole idea of worker cooperatives is also something which we in the Liberal Democrats are in full support, with Nick Clegg saying that he wished to create a “John Lewis economy” as late as 2012. If we look a little deeper, but not by much, we see what Labour’s plan truly is.

There is an insidious proviso in that policy. The stock dividend is capped at £500 per annum. This means that if a stock pays over this dividend, say £600, the state is then entitled to take £100 straight from the pocket of the worker. That money will then be used, presumably, for whatever this new government wishes, be that rail nationalisation or lost to the financial black hole that is the current NHS. Additionally, these stocks cannot be bought and sold. This, of course, means that the worker cannot expand their portfolio to include a wide range of investments in other newly formed cooperatives and, instead, simply leads to the creation of closed shops on a scale heretofore unseen. In short – this plan is nothing short of state mandated theft.

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The Philosophy of Henry George

Liberal economic philosophy has its roots in land reform and economic justice. John Locke said that “God gave the world in common to all mankind….” Thomas Paine stated that “men did not make the earth… It is the value of the improvements only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property.”

John Stuart Mill wrote: “When the ‘sacredness’ of property is talked of, it should be remembered that any such sacredness does not belong in the same degree to landed property.” Mill also wrote: “The increase in the value of land, arising as it does from the efforts of an entire community, should belong to the community and not to the individual who might hold title.”

In a free market capitalist economy markets allocate resources through the price mechanism. An increase in demand raises price and businesses produce more goods or services, but they cannot produce more land.  The quantity of products consumed by people depends on their income, but rising income translates to increased land rents when supply is static.

John Maynard Keynes challenged the idea that free markets would automatically provide full employment. He instead argued that aggregate demand determined the overall level of economic activity and that inadequate aggregate demand could lead to prolonged periods of high unemployment. Keynes advocated the use of fiscal and monetary policies to mitigate the adverse effects of economic recessions and depressions.

William Beveridge set out the framework for the modern welfare state to tackle poverty, health, housing, education and unemployment.  Following the principles of Keynes, the post-war government took control of key industries. Under this managed economy tax money could be used to keep an industry afloat, even if it faced economic difficulties and maintain full-employment.

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ALTER Questions the Leadership Candidates
 on the Land Value Tax and Economic Reform

ALTER is an Associated Organisation within the Liberal Democrats dedicated to advancing the causes of the Land Value Tax and other economic reforms. We chose to use the leadership contest as an opportunity.

We are aware that party policy is not determined by the leader, it is instead determined democratically by members at federal conferences. However, it is our experience that the leader has a large amount of influence in terms of which policies are given priority. So although motions and amendments on the Land Value Tax have been regularly passed at conference with near unanimity, the party has largely been quite shy about the policy, leaving it hidden within the small print of our manifesto rather than properly campaign on it.

For this reason we wished to challenge both leadership candidates as to whether they’d be willing to grasp the nettle and get seriously behind LVT, and also take their view on other areas of economic reform including workplace democracy and monetary policy.
We sent our questions and their responses are below.

Land Value Tax

Whenever the Land Value Tax has been debated at a Liberal Democrat conference, support for it is almost unanimous. While the party has consistently supported introducing the Land Value Tax, it has in recent years been highly shy about it. ALTER had to fight for it to even make the small print in our manifesto.

As leader, would you be willing to grasp the nettle and make it a front and centre policy?

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Recent Comments

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