Hannah Fearn: six policies Labour needs if it is to ‘win’

After a rather unpleasant opening, an online version of an article in i by journalist Hannah Fearn, sets out six policies Labour needs if it is to ‘win’.

Despite an apparent aversion to Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and the ‘official opposition’ which she says is falling apart (‘tough to watch’) Hannah makes some good proposals. Here five of the proposed policies for the common good are set out:

Promise a tax on land

There is no need for a full-blooded land value tax to replace all other forms of revenue via taxation  . . But a tax on the value of land would

  • reintroduce a level of fairness into the housing market,
  • be a disincentive to property speculation,
  • stop developers hoarding land without building new homes,
  • help prevent tax evasion and avoidance schemes which use complex property portfolios to hide wealth. You can’t hide land – and so
  • help fund public services.

It is a lot simpler to understand and easier to pay than capital gains tax or stamp duty, and helps reconnect people to the real value of the assets they own. It need not be unpopular if it is marketed in positive terms (now your children automatically inherit your home with no interference from the state).

This is a straightforward measure that actually sounds far more radical than it really is.

Commit to a ‘yacht tax’

Don’t tax the wealthy on their earnings, tax them on the spoils of wealth, on the purchases they make with it – jewellery more than £500,000, million-pound yachts, and the like. (And you’re already taxing the Mayfair mansion more effectively now if you’ve got an income based on land value.)

Scrap universal credit programme

Commit to scrapping the Conservatives’ failed universal credit programme which, instead of simplifying the benefits system, has only served to make it more unworkable. It is impossible to track every hour of work that each claimant has, and trying to do so removes the trust between state and benefits recipient. Scrapping this scheme will actually save money, not waste it, and it will bring some stability to the lives of hundreds of thousands.

Universal basic income policy

Promise a review into the feasibility of replacing the entire benefits system with a more simple and straightforward universal basic income policy. Remove the means test on child benefit.

Tactical: set clear policy on the total tax take now – even though it will probably change

McDonnell refused to put a figure, however tentative, on the percentage of public expenditure that would come from tax; just come up with a number. It doesn’t matter if it needs to change; the economy shifts all the time – there will be plenty of plausible excuses if you need to change your mind before the printing of the manifesto. Just say something decisive.

 

 

 

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Posted on February 6, 2017, in Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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