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2017 Manifesto – Creating a fairer economy

Back to 'Our 2017 Manifesto'

We understand the need for careful financial stewardship, but this must not be at the expense of our public services. There is good evidence that austerity policies have actually slowed economic growth. Meanwhile, increased spending on public services and infrastructure has been shown to give a positive economic return (e.g. health, education, transport, and energy infrastructure). We want to see a society where taxation is progressive and money is invested wisely to benefit everyone.

Progressive taxation

  • Taxation policies should be based on maintaining a decent standard of living for all. We support the re-instatement of – and efficient collection of – the 50p higher rate of tax. We support higher taxes on luxury goods and services.

A determined clampdown on tax avoidance and evasion

The Tax Justice Network estimates up to £70 billion in tax is avoided and evaded each year – just under half the amount of income tax that was actually collected in 2013-14. Beyond being a simple matter of principle, the collection of this money could have huge benefits if invested in public services and infrastructure.

  • We feel that all due taxes should be collected. Greater efforts must be made to close the tax loopholes which enable tax avoidance. Short-sighted cuts to HMRC staffing levels must be reversed and inspectors increased to  focus on tax  evasion by the richest corporations and individuals.

 A financial transaction tax

  • A small levy of 0.1-0.5% on all financial transactions could raise billions of pounds that could be used to stimulate private sector growth and generate more revenue for public services. To be effective, the tax would need to be adopted by all the major economies. Eleven European nations have signed up for it, but the UK, as yet, has not. We fully support these proposals and the UK should sign up to these Financial Transaction Tax proposals

Better banking

  • Small businesses and entrepreneurs need access to loans to grow their businesses. We support the idea of stronger local community banking, and a national state-run bank to support business lending and encourage growth of UK manufacturing industry and small businesses.
  • Small businesses face particular challenges, including late payments by contractors, difficulty getting mortgages or insurance, and business rates taking no account of ability to pay. These are issues that Government should tackle to support small businesses.
  • Better regulation of the financial sector at G20 level, as our politicians of every hue have shown themselves unwilling to control sharp operators at national level. The retail and investment arms of major banks must be separated.

Investment in transport and energy infrastructure

  • It is crucial to improve cities' transport links outside London, to stimulate their local economies. We support the idea of investing in renewable and sustainable energy policies.

 Welfare benefits

  • Replace the benefits capability assessment system with a humane system based on a genuine assessment of people’s abilities and support needs, plus the resources to support them back to work where possible.
  • We support the abolition of the cruel and target driven ‘sanction’ system which is driving many people to poverty.
  • The ‘bedroom tax’ (spare room surcharge) should be scrapped.

Your working life

  • We oppose enforced zero hours contracts. In the case of home care workers, they must be paid at least the Minimum Wage for the time they spend travelling between clients as well as the time spent with them.
  • The reported fall in unemployment masks the rise in underemployment and insecure self-employed and zero hours contract job. We support policies to promote full employment with jobs that are secure and well paid.
  • We support the introduction of a statutory Living Wage. This would transform the quality of life and health of low-paid workers; slash billions from the benefits bill (actually a state subsidy for low-paying employers); and stimulate economic growth. A Living Wage creates jobs by pumping more money into the economy at the level where it will be spent locally.
  • We support provision of a comprehensive and universal childcare support system. This would pay for itself by freeing parents to contribute to the economy through their taxes for paid work. We would increase investment in the evidence-based early years programmes.
  • We support gender equality in pay and oppose all forms of discrimination in the workplace. Workers’ rights, their health, and their safety, must be protected.