Bold policies are needed to reinvigorate the UK, says expert panel
Bold policies are needed to reinvigorate the UK, says expert panelWednesday 22 Feb 2023
Ambitious changes to welfare, education, business support and taxation are needed pull the UK out of its 15-year slump.
At the CAGE Research Centre’s public policy event, ‘Bold Policies for Uncertain Times,’ Liam Byrne MP (Birmingham Hodge Hill), Claire McNeil (London Progression Collaboration/IPPR), Andy Haldane (Royal Society of Arts) and Arun Advani (University of Warwick and CAGE) laid out their expert recommendations for improving growth, productivity and welfare in the UK.
The event was co-organised with Liam Byrne and the Labour Tribune Group of MPs, who recently drew together independent experts in a report to propose new policies to tackle the economic and social stagnation the UK has experienced over the last 15 years.
Mr Byrne set out the scale of the challenges faced by policymakers from climate change and inequality to falling living standards and stagnant growth. He recommended three policy priorities: investing in climate security to deliver faster growth; championing an active government that supports its citizens; and building strong communities that can heal political, social and economic rifts.
Claire McNeil spoke about inequality and inadequacy in social support. She called for policies to: ensure that social minimums are met, for example by continuing social security for low paid workers; to improve investment in social support, for example skills training and childcare; and to confront inequality in power and ownership, for example by resisting the expansion of the private sector in housing, childcare and social care.
Andy Haldane discussed potential solutions for improving productivity and growth. He argued for supply side policies to boost productivity alongside investment in education and skills. The UK can be more ambitious in how education is delivered. Creativity, innovation and communication should be rewarded in our education systems, while AI technology could be used to personalise education and make it easier to develop an efficient workforce.
Arun Advani considered how tax reform could finance bold new policies. He argued that the UK does not do enough to tax wealth effectively. Many people receive a large proportion of their income through Capital Gains. Capital Gains tax could be raised to match income tax to increase revenue and make the tax system fairer. Meanwhile an annual wealth tax of 1% for those with over £10 million would raise about £11 billion: the same effect as putting up the basic tax rate by 2p.
The speakers delivered their proposals to a large public audience at Draper’s Hall in Coventry. CAGE Director Mirko Draca, the event Chair, said ‘This event is a clarion call for policymakers to be more ambitious in their plans for the country. And the engaged discussion shows just how much the public across the country want to be part of this debate.’
Liam Byrne MP said, ‘The tide of ideas has turned. But to win the next election we need to transform these ideas into strong policies for growth: through climate security, active government and strong neighbourhoods. We can’t get this right without lively public debate, which is exactly what we got in Coventry.’
The CAGE Research Centre will host further policy debates with other political parties later on in the year.
‘Bold policies for uncertain times: paths to economic and social success,’ was held on 26 January 2023 at Draper’s Hall in Coventry.
Watch the recording of the event: