Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has today laid out a series of new proposals that he urged the Chancellor to adopt in next week’s budget.
The proposals would give certainty to business and public services against the backdrop of chaotic Brexit negotiations.
Willie Rennie said: “These proposals form an alternative People’s Budget for the 21st Century designed to heal our divided country”.
Liberal Democrats will:
- Stop Brexit by demanding that people get the final say on the Brexit deal. An Exit from Brexit will boost growth, wages and tax revenues;
- Fix our broken UK tax system to help businesses invest and ensure wealthy individuals and global businesses pay their fair share;
- Invest in our public services and properly funding Universal Credit so that work always pays, and everyone gets the support they need.
Speaking ahead of the budget, Mr Rennie said:
“No Budget can compensate the country for the huge financial Brexit blackhole that the Conservatives are set on delivering.
“That is why Liberal Democrats have led the growing campaign for a people’s vote. An exit from Brexit would be good for business, wages and jobs.
“Our alternative Budget shows we are a party that will stand up to power and privilege to bring fairness and opportunity to all, building a Britain in which everyone is able to fulfil their potential.
“Our forward thinking proposals would have huge benefits for Scotland and the whole of the UK.
”We shouldn’t settle for the meaner and poorer country that the Conservatives are creating. Our country deserves better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.”
Notes to editors:
Liberal Democrats’ budget proposals
- Overhaul inheritance tax – Liberal Democrats would abolish inheritance tax which is a loophole-ridden death tax. Instead, we would tax people who receive large gifts progressively, using the same rates as income tax, above a generous tax-free lifetime allowance;
- Tax work and wealth in the same way - by taxing capital gains and dividends through the income tax system, aligning rates and abolishing most reliefs;
- Reform pension tax relief – Liberal Democrats would introduce a flat rate of relief on pension contributions, encouraging low-income workers to save for their retirement whilst removing generous reliefs for the highest earners. We would also limit the amount the wealthiest can withdraw from their pension pots without paying tax.
- Create a Citizens’ Wealth Fund to boost public wealth and investment and to combat inequality. By actively investing in stocks, bonds and physical assets, the fund would enable the country to benefit from the returns to investment typically only available to the wealthy. The fund would be kept at arm’s length from Government and run by professional fund managers, albeit with robust accountability measures and a strong emphasis on environmentally sustainable and ethical investment. We would capitalise the fund with an initial £50 billion public endowment (made up of revenues from future sales of the Government’s stake in RBS and other public assets, and a long-term government bond issue) and £5 billion per year from higher wealth taxation. This would produce a fund worth £100 billion after a decade.
- Reverse the deep cuts to Universal Credit’s “Work Allowances” made by the Conservatives in the 2015 Summer Budget. This costs £3 billion per year;
- End the benefits freeze a year early;
- Boost funding for public services across the UK - with Barnett consequentials for Scotland - from a UK-wide addition of £3.2bn for schools, police and railways;
Freeze whisky duty.