Tag Archives: redistribution

Why levelling up is not just a challenge for the Conservatives

The pledge to ‘level up’ the left behind parts of England is key to what happens in English politics over the next 3-5 years and beyond (I say ‘English’ politics because the dominant political issues in the four nations of the UK seem to be diverging). Boris Johnson’s promises to revive the towns and industrial communities of northern and coastal England have raised expectations, and won votes and seats. But even if he calls an election early in 2023 he will need to have demonstrated that commitment in increased expenditure to retain many of the votes won over in 2019.

The difficulty of reconciling this promise with the Conservative ideology of low taxes and a constant squeeze on public expenditure has just been demonstrated by the refusal to accept Sir Kevan Collins’s estimate of the scale of investment need in schools to catch up with years of neglect capped by 18 months of pandemic. £50 per pupil, offset by a reduction in the pupil premium, presents ‘an undervaluation of the importance of education’, Collins declared as he resigned.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 50 Comments

GDP share; a more timely and effective alternative to Universal Basic Income

That’s your bloody GDP. It is not ours’. Thus a Brexit supporter expressed their detachment from the national economy in 2016.

This proposal addresses both the perception and reality behind this comment. It provides poorer households with a bigger share of GDP, achieving a more deliverable redistribution of income than a Universal Basic Income. It makes more people feel that this is ‘our GDP’. It also steers the national conversation about growth towards ‘net zero’.

UBI and its problems

A conference motion calls for the party to campaign for UBI.

But the practicalities mean we are doomed to deliver a very small and disappointing version of a very big and (somewhat) controversial idea. The UBI promise of a reasonable income for everyone is not achievable. Recent work by sympathetic academics has shown how far we can (and can’t) get. Even if we raise higher rate taxes a lot and get rid of personal allowances (so that for most people there is no net benefit) to fund a UBI, we cannot sustainably pay a UBI of much more than £3000. At this level, many poor people would lose out unless all or most current means-tested benefits stay in place – thus forgoing one of the significant supposed advantages of UBI. And even to get to £3000, we would likely have deployed the money from all of our tax-raising ideas on this one concept cutting out anything else we might want to do.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 8 Comments

The Saturday Debate: Equality of opportunity just isn’t enough

Here’s your starter for ten as we experiment with a new Saturday slot posing a view for debate:

Belief in equality is, as the preamble to the Lib Dems’ constitutions states, one of the fundamental values of the party. But, as with all values, equality can mean different things to different people.

There has long been tension between liberals who believe the role of government is to aim for equality of opportunity for everyone, and liberals who believe government must promote equality of outcomes. The former will tend to stress the importance of education as the chief means by which individuals …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 63 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Michael BG
    Jeremy, Please can you give the dates of the next three FPC meetings after 9th June? When you write, “This discussion then very helpfully informed an ea...
  • Marco
    I didn’t think that 2019 was as disastrous as many people thought. The result is a solid base to build on. Although the revoke policy was mistaken I am concer...
  • Marco
    I do despair of Lib Dems who claim Labour “aren’t progressive”. It was Labour governments who legalised divorce, abortion and same sex relations, abolis...
  • Andrew McCaig
    John, it is not having unitary councils that I object to (I am quite used to the unitary Kirklees Council), but to restricting local elections to once every fou...
  • Marco
    Congratulations to Sarah Green and everyone who campaigned and achieved a fantastic result. This result shows that the party is broadly on the right track. Y...