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 AvatarSilvio 21st Jan - 7:25pm
    The party could attempt to right the wrongs of the Coalition years. A way to get voters like me supporting the party in seats they...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 21st Jan - 7:16pm
    I suggest that before we start worrying about winnable seats (unless we get a fluky by-election) we spend time and thought and energy sorting out...
  • User AvatarScott Berry 21st Jan - 7:03pm
    There seems to be an underlying assumption in many comments that there is a conflict between diversity and quality/quantity (e.g. more women in parliament vs...
  • User AvatarCllr Mark Wright 21st Jan - 6:48pm
    The logic behind this is flawed though - the statement when we take votes off Labour then The Conservatives win assumes that if those votes...
  • User AvatarChris Cory 21st Jan - 6:47pm
    To return to the main point of the original post, Mark, can you confirm (or deny) my original observation that applicants for virtually all these...
  • User AvatarPeter 21st Jan - 6:46pm
    @Mark Pack - That research finding sounds very dubious indeed. Unfortunately, an alarming proportion of academic research in most disciplines turns out to be worthless....