These are proposals I have made with suggestions from Paul Forrest. It is essential we can develop a clear Alternative Economic Strategy (AES) which can point to the direction the UK needs to take to reconstruct its collapsing economy. All suggestions, no matter how minor, are welcome.
1. A finance sector geared to investing in the UK not for short term profit. The establishment of a National Investment Bank, with a specific remit to assist SMEs.
PF: I don’t think you are being ambitious enough .
The banking sector needs far more radical reform than this proposal. The 2008 financial crisis was never really fixed. It was just patched up with a few more controls that don’t really protect the public from too big to fail. This doesn’t address the massive risk the UK tax payer is running with the current system.
However, I do take the point that the current banking system doesn’t serve UK industry.
There is also the question of who should be allowed to create money and how much.
2. An expansion of manufacturing, both high and low tech to meet the needs of our country, to increase domestic supply and real employment. Initially we should aim to raise our manufacturing from 10% of GDP to 25%. Increasing domestic supply is essential in the fight against inflation.
PF: I am all for increasing manufacturing in the UK. Any ideas on how this is to be achieved when Germany is only 18% and this is seen as an industrial powerhouse.
Personally, I would not set a target on the % of manufacturing, but aim to do two things :
- Balance the current account. This would need an increase the manufacturing
- Aim for a diversity in manufacturing sectors. This helps increase innovation.
Do you think it will require some form to restrict imports from low cost producers?
What are your views on ways to balance trade such as Bancor or Warren Buffet’s 2003 proposal for import export certification?
3. A massive council house building programme with the aim of a council house for anyone that needs one. This has to be accompanied by an equalisation of migration at minimum.
PF: We need a wider range of proposals to tackle housing and not just council housing.
- Land Value Capture
- New Towns not more sprawl
- Increase current urban density
- Council Housing
- Improve quality of new builds
With you on balancing migration to reduce the demand side.
4. Free health care for all British Citizens in need – the NHS to be fully returned to public ownership.
PF: Public ownership isn’t my main problem with the NHS. It is the lack of democratic oversight and control of the £136 billion budget. I think the privatisation of the NHS is a result of this. There are parts of the NHS that can be done better in the private sector such as logistics.
5. All infrastructure and public transport to be returned to public ownership
PF: I can’t see how the ownership of public transport is that important to most people. I have read widely on the history of British Rail and the ownership of the sector is a secondary factor to the structure of the industry.
The bus industry works well in London and this is a mix of public planning and revenue risk combined with private operators.
Having studied transport in the Netherlands, what this shows is that people want an affordable, quick and safe way to get from A to B.
6. The affordable social provision of all necessities: energy, water, health, education, housing and basic foodstuffs.
PF: There is a problem in energy where the poorest in society pay the most for their energy.
Don’t like the current energy market and private ownership of the National Grids.
The current energy market is a fake market and natural monopolies should have greater public control
I don’t like the current student loan system for education and the need to go to university.
Housing- See policy above.
I’m not sure how it could be done but fresh food should be cheaper and more affordable than heavily processed foods.
7. The return to the concept of public service in the public sector with the abolition of the growing differences between those in top management and those doing the work. No CEO should receive more than 5 times that of the lowest paid.
8. In the private sector huge differences between high and low salaries to be levelled by tax rates for the highly paid. Expense accounts to be strictly reviewed.
9. A minimum basic rate of £400 p.w. for 37 hours. (£20,800 p.a.) untaxed.
PF: I read 7, 8 and 9 as symptoms of the same problem. UK workers have very little control over the companies they work for. There are a range of solutions to increase control.
We need a method that leverages the strengths of all workers to improve productivity and they are rewarded for it. The UK has for too long had a workers v management approach to industry.
10. A new and fairer sliding scale of taxes ensuring the rich pay their share.
PF: There is a massive problem around tax and how the super rich avoid it.
I don’t think a sliding scale is enough. We need a review of how wealth is hidden off shore and in trusts. We also need to look at what is tax, do we need to move away from a focus of taxing income and move to taxing assets such as land.