Tag Archives: universal inheritance

Universal Inheritance: A Big Radical Liberal Idea

Now more than ever the Liberal Democrats need new imaginative radical policies. Big idea politics is back with a vengeance as both Labour and the Conservatives indulge in increasingly extreme visions for the country.

If we as a party are to successfully challenge both Labour’s socialism and Tory Brexit nationalism, then we need to engage in the ‘battle of ideas’ and develop our own clear alternative. Liberalism has a long radical heritage stretching back more than three centuries. Throughout the history of liberal political thought, liberals have consistently championed ways of spreading power, wealth, opportunity and ownership to individuals.

In the 20th century, Liberals campaigned under the slogan of ‘Ownership for All’. This was a radical social liberal vision of a more egalitarian capitalist society; where citizens would have the right to own capital and have democracy in their workplaces. This led to the Liberal Party supporting worker cooperatives, profit-sharing and corporate power-sharing models between bosses and workers. The Oxford University academic, Stuart White, refers to this tradition as alternative liberalism.

One central aspect of the radical liberal ownership agenda is the establishment of a citizens’ wealth fund (also called a sovereign wealth fund). This is a publicly-owned fund made up of national wealth, taxed wealth and national investments in shares, land and natural assets. Such funds work successfully from Norway to Alaska. Vince Cable and Liberal Democrat party members gave their overwhelming backing to a citizens’ wealth fund at this year’s party conference in Brighton. 

But how should the wealth amassed in a citizens’ wealth fund best be used? One answer is to deliver a universal inheritance as outlined in a recent report for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). Universal inheritance is the idea of having a one-off universal capital grant paid to citizens when they turn 25 years of age. The IPPR envisions that a citizens’ wealth fund could eventually pay out a universal inheritance of £10,000 to every 25-year-old. The basic rationale for the policy is that asset-poor young people should share in the nation’s wealth at the start of their adult lives, when many are starting their careers.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments
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  • User Avatarjohn 6th Aug - 7:02pm
    Assoc of Libdem Engineers & Science live leadership hustings now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=934B33TxZBM&feature=push-lbrm&attr_tag=_KnBjb6KVikG3dLF%3A6
  • User AvatarJohn 6th Aug - 6:59pm
    Whatever LibDems think of the relative merits of the alternative Borgs in Labour and Tories, the Tories have not shaken off any previous marginal tendencies...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 6th Aug - 6:43pm
    David Raw, totally agree with your point with just one query on your final sentence - "It was even worse in 1951". Was it definitely...
  • User AvatarGordon 6th Aug - 6:05pm
    The Tories have form when it comes to property and the article would be better for making that point. Their hostility is driven by laws...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 6th Aug - 5:56pm
    @ Richard Easter, "I don’t know what the solution to it all is....." Neither do I have a complete solution, but we have to start...
  • User AvatarBarry Lofty 6th Aug - 5:38pm
    You might also say what have the Labour party got to offer, ok they have a more credible new leader but I suspect behind the...