Economy and Jobs

22 Jun 2024
Economic reewal

Liberal Democrats will build a strong, fair economy that benefits everyone in the UK, by helping people back to work, supporting small businesses, improving long-term productivity, and delivering much greater stability for long-term investment, especially for the industries of the future.

Core to our economic policy for improving stability and growth will be responsible management of the public finances, fixing the broken trading relationship with Europe, and an industrial strategy focused on the skills the future UK economy will need, from the renewables industry to the digital and bioscience sectors.

The Conservatives have badly mismanaged the economy and recklessly damaged the public finances, grinding economic growth to a halt and adding billions to the cost of servicing our debt. Their botched Brexit deal has badly damaged the economy, leaving everyone worse off. By abandoning climate commitments, they have undermined industry’s confidence in investment in the green products and technologies vital to both economic recovery and tackling the climate emergency.

And they have taken people for granted, failing to deliver the investment needed to bring prosperity to all nations and regions of the UK. They left families and businesses to suffer the effects of their cost-of-living crisis without enough support, hit people with years of unfair tax rises, and their promises to ‘level up’ have proved hollow.

The SNP Government has shown that it cannot be trusted to spend your money wisely and its costly blunders have resulted in less funding for Scotland’s overwhelmed public services. The SNP want to erect new economic barriers and their erratic tax policy shows that they are out of ideas on how to spark growth and drive innovation.

We will empower people and support businesses to thrive by encouraging investment and boosting productivity.

We will:

  • Provide long-term help with the cost of living by cutting energy bills through an emergency Home Energy Upgrade programme, tackling rising food prices through a National Food Strategy, and getting mortgage rates under control through careful economic management.
  • Invest in green infrastructure, innovation and skills to boost economic growth and create good jobs and prosperity in every nation and region of the UK, while tackling the climate crisis.
  • Repair the broken relationship with Europe, which acts as a brake on the economy and costs the UK investment, jobs and tax revenue.
  • Foster stability, certainty and confidence by managing the public finances responsibly to get the national debt falling as a share of the economy and ensure that day-to-day spending does not exceed the amount raised in taxes, while making the investments our country needs.
  • Put an end to Conservative waste and give taxpayers real value for money, giving HMRC the resources it needs to properly tackle tax avoidance and evasion.
  • Implement a tax policy that recognises how high the Conservatives and SNP have raised personal taxes, making the cost-of-living crisis worse, by instead focusing tax changes on reversing the Conservatives’ tax cuts for big banks and imposing a proper, one-off windfall tax on the super-profits of oil and gas producers and traders.

In addition, we will:

  • Create good jobs and prosperity in every nation and region of the UK by:
    • Launching an ambitious industrial strategy to incentivise businesses to invest and create good jobs across the UK, as set out in chapter 4.
    • Supporting local and regional economic partnerships to coordinate development projects and boost growth in their areas.
    • Working with the devolved administrations to develop joint policies and partnerships to boost growth across the whole UK.
    • Ensuring that gigabit broadband is available to every home and business, including in rural and remote communities, as set out in chapter 15.

  • Foster the stability, certainty and confidence that are vital for economic growth and investment by:
    • Protecting the independence of the Bank of England and keeping the inflation target of 2%.
    • Ensuring that all fiscal events are accompanied by independent forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

  • Increase investment in green infrastructure, including renewable energy and zero-carbon transport, industry and housing, as set out in chapters 4, 5, 14 and 16, and give a clearer zero-carbon remit to the UK Infrastructure Bank.

  • Remain committed to delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the UK and around the world.

  • Work with partners in international forums, including the OECD and the UN, to tackle international corporate tax avoidance for the benefit of all countries and make the case for increasing the global minimum rate of corporation tax to 21%.

  • Our priority for tax cuts, when the public finances allow, will be to cut income tax by raising the tax-free personal allowance, benefitting the vast majority of families and taking more low-paid workers out of paying income tax altogether.

  • Make the tax system fairer and raise the money needed for our investment plans by:
    • Reversing Conservative tax cuts for the big banks, restoring Bank Surcharge and Bank Levy revenues to 2016 levels in real terms.
    • Increasing the Digital Services Tax on social media firms and other tech giants from 2% to 6%.
    • Fairly reforming capital gains tax to close loopholes exploited by the super wealthy.
    • Introducing a 4% tax on the share buyback schemes of FTSE-100 listed companies, to incentivise productive investment, job creation and economic growth.

  • End retrospective tax changes such as the loan charge brought in by the Conservatives, and review the Government’s off-payroll working IR35 reforms to ensure self-employed people are treated fairly.

  • Expand the British Business Bank to perform a more central role in the economy, to ensure that viable small and medium-sized businesses have access to capital, and enable it to help ‘crowd-in’ private investment, in particular in zero-carbon products and technologies.

  • Empower consumers and ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of new technology, by setting a UK-wide target for digital literacy and requiring all products to provide a short, clear version of their terms and conditions, setting out the key facts as they relate to individuals’ data and privacy.

  • Introduce a national financial inclusion strategy and require both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority to have regard to financial inclusion, such as protecting access to cash, especially in remote areas, supporting banking hubs, expanding access to bank accounts, delivering Sharia-compliant student finance and supporting vulnerable consumers.

Click here for a PDF of the manifesto. 

 

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