We are delighted to have got this motion onto the agenda of this autumn’s Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool. It will be debated during the morning session on Tuesday 21 September.
F34 Ensuring Fairness in a Time of Austerity
34 conference representatives
Mover: James Graham
Summation: David Hall-Matthews
i) The fragile state of the global economy.
ii) That the poor, the young and the vulnerable have historically suffered during periods of austerity.
iii) The crucial role the Liberal Democrats must play in government to ensure that during this downturn, those with the broadest shoulders carry the greatest burden, that the most vulnerable are protected and that the economic recovery is both sustainable and leads to greater fairness.
Conference welcomes the Liberal Democrat policies secured in the June Emergency Budget, including:
a) The £1,000 increase in the Income Tax allowance, freeing 880,000 low paid workers from Income Tax altogether.
b) A new tax on banks, ensuring that they help to pay to clear up the mess left by the financial crisis.
c) Ensuring that top earners will pay a full 10% more in Capital Gains Tax.
d) Ensuring that pensioners get a fair deal with the ‘triple lock’, raising state pensions every year in line with earnings, inflation, or by 2.5%, whichever is the highest.
e) Establishing a regional growth fund to ensure that regions, towns and cities that depend heavily on the public sector will not be forgotten, getting meaningful support to help create jobs and opportunities for all.
f) Cutting child tax credits for those who can most afford it, whilst increasing support for the poorest families.
Conference also welcomes moves to put the Office of Budget Responsibility on a statutory footing, siting it outside the Treasury and subjecting the appointment of its Chair to approval by the Treasury Select Committee.
Conference calls for Liberal Democrats in government to continue to work to ensure that the most vulnerable in society are not disproportionately affected by the government’s austerity measures and to ensure that the wealth and inequality gap does not widen. In particular, conference calls for Liberal Democrats in government to:
1. Ensure that the Office of Budget Responsibility is genuinely independent of government by having its committee appointed directly by Parliament, and expanding its remit to include assessing the socio- economic impact of Treasury policy, as stipulated in the Equality Act 2010.
2. Insist that Liberal Democrat ministers are given the freedom and resources to commission research to fully assess the viability and practicalities of increasing taxation on wealth – including land values.
3. Prevent the emergence of a ‘lost generation’ by fostering a strong economy and adequate investment in post-16 training, education, employment schemes and youth services. In light of the crucial role higher education will play in assisting the economic recovery, the party should explore the possibility of building cross party support around replacing tuition fees and student loans with a graduate tax system.
4. Promote jobs, sustainability, good health and social mobility by introducing strong incentives to encourage private investment in affordable, green housing stock and renovating empty homes.
5. Encourage the establishment of credit unions, mutuals and regional stock exchanges to revive the fortunes of the small and medium enterprises that have suffered as a result of the recession.
6. Ensure that the banks that remain dependent on public support increase direct lending to viable businesses.
7. Work towards ending child poverty in this Parliament.
Applicability: Federal, except 3, 4 and 5 which are England only.