Archive Press Releases/News

The effects of negative interest rates on businesses

The Liberal Party views with much concern media reports that both the RBS and Natwest bank are warning business and commercial customers of the possibility of them being charged negative interest rates.

This would in effect charge these businesses, reported to between 1 and 1.3 million, for holding money in their accounts, as well as an undisclosed number of charities and community groups.

This move is being prompted by the potential cut of domestic interest rates to zero, leaving banks to fund the cost of borrowing and their own businesses, whilst receiving no interest on loans.

The Liberal Party understands the economic reasoning behind this move, but this simply adds further pressure to businesses struggling to survive in uncertain economic times, and re-enforces the common perception that banks are not there to help businesses thrive.

Although this move would not affect personal customers with savings or current accounts, it encourages the move towards fee based accounts, which discriminate against the poorest in our society.

The RBS and Natwest via its parent Lloyds bank are both still partly state owned, and should be challenged by the government and the general public on this counter-productive and damaging development.

We need stronger conventional forces not Trident

The Liberal Party notes with considerable disappointment the recent vote on the future of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent.

At a time when one would have imagined national politicians would have been digesting the ramifications of the recent EU referendum, they have instead allowed themselves to be distracted by a polarising and highly contentious domestic issue.

It is even arguable that the Conservative government have seen this as an opportune moment to promote the renewal process, with the opposition Labour party lukewarm in its opposition to Trident and consumed with a potential leadership contest.

The replacement of Trident is expected to cost in excess of 31 billion pounds, at a time when further austerity and cuts to public services now seen inevitable.

It is a commitment to an unaffordable military asset over the next 20 years, when conventional forces are already stretched and the Chilcot inquiry report highlighted poor levels of equipment.

The recent Bastille Day tragedy in France should remind us that conventional and not nuclear deterrents are the most pressing consideration in this age. Not the renewal of a questionable military asset, with little relevance to modern geopolitics or domestic security.

Letter in the weekly Oxford Times today – Tackle the Wealth Gap

Sir – Now the UK is to be fully independent, we must tackle the wealth gap between the rich and the poor which was partly responsible for the Brexit decision. All political parties, whether left, right or centre, should address the question, which they have ignored for too long, of the quasi-feudal inequality of inheritance of capital wealth.

The EU will no longer be able to object on grounds of discrimination if all 25-year-old UK-born, rather than EU-born, UK citizens, in London, Glasgow or anywhere else, receive, as they should, a basic minimum UK Universal Inheritance, financed out of taxation on the giving and receiving of capital gifts, bequests and inheritance from the previous generation of UK tax payers.

This real, continuation, traditional UK Liberal Party policy must now be introduced as soon as possible, because in order to be fair to adjacent year groups of 25-year-old UK-born UK citizens, it can only be introduced gradually.

The Liberal Party proposal is that UK Universal Inheritance should start at a mere £1,000 and be increased annually by that amount for ten years or more up to about 10% of average wealth in the UK.

Inheritance Tax on giving and bequeathing would be reduced and renamed Capital Donor Tax, with significantly reduced exemptions and reliefs.

UK Universal Inheritance would then be financed, and clawed back from the more fortunate, by a new cross-referred progressive tax on cumulative lifetime receipt of unearned capital gifts and bequests, including the UK Universal Inheritance itself.

As things are, some inherit unearned billions, free of tax, during their lifetime, while all too many others never inherit any capital at all. Other political parties should stop inveighing against inequality or demanding greater equality of opportunity for all without even mentioning the positive redistribution in each new generation of vastly unequal unearned inherited wealth.

Dane Clouston
Oxfordshire Liberal Party
Member, Liberal Party National Executive Committee
Stadhampton

Draft NEC Statement on response to George Osbornes vision of public finances – Second draft

The Liberal Party notes with considerable disappointment the comments attributed to the Chancellor George Osborne in the aftermath of the recent EU Referendum vote as he maps out the financial future of this country.

After 6 years of austerity, the chancellor’s only vision is one in which further cuts to public services and increases in tax feature prominently, whilst damaging austerity is conveniently dispensed with as politically redundant.

Although cuts in corporation tax are known to have a stimulating effect, such a phenomenon is not in itself a panacea for these nations’ long-term economic future and prosperity. As the Irish Republic discovered, low corporate taxes are not on their own a solid base on which to build a sustainable economy.

As a nation with a total net worth in excess of 7 trillion pounds, we should on the face it be able to afford to fund adequate public services, along with a properly funded NHS and education systems.

The Liberal Party calls for a more open and radical debate on our nation’s future economic journey in light of our eventual disengagement from the European Union, and the role of domestic and as well as business taxation in funding sustainable public services.

Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury

Sir,

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s declaration that he supports a ‘remain’ vote on the basis that Britain ‘belongs in the world’ appears somewhat confused and to a degree perverse.

It is precisely because the UK needs to get back into the world, rather than being locked into a declining and economically precarious European Union that the Liberal Party is campaigning for a ‘leave’ vote.

The stereotype that those who wish to leave the EU are insular ‘little Englanders’ could not be further from the truth, rather we are worried that we will end up ‘little Europeans’.

Given that the Archbishop of Canterbury is an Eton and Cambridge educated former oil executive it’s perhaps unsurprising he has lept to the defence of the metropolitan elite from which he, like Cameron and Osborne, has sprung.

Yours faithfully,

Daniel Wood
Acting Chair of the NEC
The Liberal Party
Principle Spokesperson – Liberals GO Global

NEC statement on North Yorkshire fracking decision

The NEC notes with considerable disappointment the majority decision of the Conservative controlled North Yorkshire County Councils planning committee to approve an application for fracking at a site near Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.

The Liberal party, which has two serving councillors in the district, has debated fracking twice at its annual Assembly, and finds no merit in its continued promotion.

The entire process of high-pressure pumping of water and sand into the ground to collect the gas risks untold environmental and well as geological damage and only prolongs our society’s addition to unsustainable sources of energy.

The fact that the application attracted over 4000 objections, should be a clear indication of the public opposition to such schemes, which should form no part of this nation’s energy policy.