SLF Executive Director, Gordon Lishman, writes about a new Economics motion the Social Liberal Forum will be submitting for Conference to debate.

For the past few weeks I have been working closely with colleagues - including Vince Cable - on an Economics motion to be submitted to Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in York.  

Throughout the coalition years and despite efforts by some of our Ministers and spokespeople, Liberal Democrat economic policy was defined in the eyes of the electorate by George Osborne.  This is our first opportunity to agree a new, distinctive policy on broad economic issues for an independent Party.

The motion re-states existing policy in important areas and puts it in the context of a new overall economic policy for the Liberal Democrats.  It also puts the Party firmly in its traditional, social liberal approach to the economy as set out in the Preamble to our Constitution.  That includes our commitment to social justice, the enabling State and to tackling growing inequalities.

It recognises the fact that the UK is doing worse than others in helping young people into employment and out of social exclusion and calls for joined-up efforts across government to address this new “underclass”.  It calls for a review of Beveridge’s “Five Giants on the Road to Re-construction” for modern times.  It reminds Liberal Democrats of our historic commitment to worker ownership, social enterprise, mutuality and co-operation.  It calls for coherent devolution of real power within the UK in the context of balanced economic development toward manufacturing industry and less well-off regions.  It recognises the need to return to our policies of promoting green energy and green investment.

The motion makes a strong commitment to investment in infrastructure, partly financed by cheap borrowing, and with social housing as a priority.  It sets out detailed proposals to maintain the UK’s fragile recovery from the 2008 crash through industrial strategy, banking reform, controlling executive pay and effective training.

Our package of proposals starts with an up-to-date analysis of the major challenges which face the UK economy.  It assesses the inadequacy of Conservative policies and firmly places our Party on a strategy for a fairer economy in a stronger society.

If you are a member of the Liberal Democrats please do sign the motion and add your name to the growing number supporting it.

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