My views are still changing, but I believe some of my positions are worth setting out below, with an invitation to anyone to get in touch with me to discuss my views.
Please note, some of my personal views do not align directly with Liberal Democrat positions on some issues. As a party, we are constantly debating ideas to add to the party manifesto, and as a result the positions below are ones that either I would already vote for in line with existing Liberal Democrat policy or I would put my policy proposals to the Party as a whole in an attempt to persuade them of my views. My voting record in future will be drawn from my personal manifesto, the manifesto of the Liberal Democrat party, and above all my constituents.
- Immediately switch all votes in the UK to a Proportional Representation system, ensuring that governments in future accurately represent the electorate. This will encourage a move towards co-operative governments rather than adversarial ones, and will necessitate a change in the current modus operandi for Parliamentary business.
- Consider abolishing the House of Lords and moving Parliament to a more efficient and cost-effective location, e.g. near Birmingham or Manchester. My thought here is to replace the House of Lords with a body of senior civil servants who will be tasked with providing oversight and commentary of the House of Commons. As part of this, modernise parliament to allow for proxies, maternity and paternity leave and electronic voting to ensure that votes can take place in a fraction of the time currently wasted on traipsing through the lobbies.
- In the longer term, consider abolishing both the Monarchy and the peerage system, as both are anachronisms that have long-since become vestigial.
- Allow the Scottish people to decide whether they wish to stay part of the UK given these proposed changes and recent events. Ditto people of Northern Ireland. My hope is that the changes being made here will make them want to stay part of the Union, but I do not believe in forcing any country to remain in an alliance that they wish to exit from. If they decide they want to leave, make sure that an option remains to rejoin the Union at a later date.
- Immediately hold a referendum on rejoining the European Union. If this indicates that we should, try to get our old status back, otherwise join on standard terms. If this still results in a win for Leave, respect the result, but schedule a follow-up vote for, say, five years.
Land and Property
- Make registration of property completely mandatory, in that any unregistered land by a certain deadline is deemed to be owned by the UK government.
- Gradually introduce a personal cap of 1000 acres or thereabouts for land ownership.
- Ensure that all land privately owned is subject to inheritance tax. Agricultural Relief can be effectively retained by making use of cheap long-term leases of farmland from the government to farmers.
- Use public land to found a sovereign wealth fund, leasing out some of the land to private farmers or property developers.
- With some of the remaining land and the profits from the above leasing, build a series of renewable energy generators to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
- Reclaim all mineral rights, removing the right of private landowners to extract coal or other minerals from their holdings without prior approval by the government.
- Require all land ownership to be done in a named person’s capacity, and make that person UK resident for all tax purposes even if they never set foot here.
- Abolish Stamp Duty for purchases of main residences. Increase Stamp Duty to 10% for second and subsequent properties until such time as homelessness is eliminated.
- Amalgamate income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax into a single “receipts tax” payable by all UK residents.
- Introduce a special “non-UK tax” for payments made to a non-UK entity who would otherwise not be subject to the receipts tax by virtue of being non-resident.
- Set the receipts tax at a rate of, say, 50%. This will be made progressive by the Universal Basic Income below.
- Introduce a Universal Basic Income at a rate of, say, £12,000 a year to replace Personal Allowance, Starting Rate, Basic Rate, State Pension and most benefits.
- For transfers within a family, introduce a cumulative allowance of £500,000 in respect of each person’s main residence and £100,000 in respect of other gifts per person, transferable to a surviving spouse on death in a similar manner to the existing Nil Rate Band.
- Remove the non-domicile tax status, leaving only resident and non-resident for tax purposes.
- Set corporation tax to 25%, with any dividends paid from net turnover attracting a 25% tax credit, meaning the total tax remains the same at 50%.
- Remove the Capital Gains Tax uplift on death.
- Insurance policies which include no investment element should largely make their sums assured payable free of tax. Insurance policies used as investment vehicles should be subject to normal tax rates.
- Scrap the annual allowance, lifetime allowance and pension commencement lump sum for any future accruals.
- Pensions should not be permitted to own property or land except as a connected employer purchasing their own premises.
- Scrap the 0% death rate on pensions except to surviving spouses.
- As a rule, most trusts used for avoidance of tax should be completely abolished. The exception will be trusts for vulnerable people, which will continue to be treated as their absolute property but subject to the current administration rules of discretionary settlements.
Education & Healthcare
- These should both be prioritised, using both tax income and income generated by the sovereign wealth fund.
- Tuition fees should be scrapped, as society benefits as a whole from educating everyone.
- Existing student loan balances should be forgiven.
- Prescription fees should be scrapped, as no-one chooses to have to take medication.
- NHS hospitals should be targeted to have a certain proportion of beds unfilled at all times, to allow for emergency situations where additional beds are needed quickly.
- It should be a basic principle that the NHS and education are NOT to be run for profit, but for national interest.
- As water is a monopoly, with residents not having a choice of which supplier to use, water provision should be nationalised.
- Gas and electricity should continue to be open to private businesses, but the sovereign wealth fund should directly compete with these providers.
- Building regulations should be updated such that all new builds must have either solar (electricity or heat generation) or wind installations.
- Fracking should not be permitted. Environmental issues are very real, plus we should be moving away from fossil fuels and more towards renewable energy.
- Electric cars should be subsidised going forward, both in terms of development and ultimate purchase.
- Train routes should be nationalised, as these represent monopolies at the moment.