Strong communities with good jobs are built on substantial public investment and dispersed, democratic ownership.
We will fully reverse the cuts in public spending made between 2010 and 2022, and we will reverse these cuts at both local and national levels.
A Progressive Tax System
We recognise that the average yearly income for those in the North is significantly lower than the rest of England. To reverse the damage of the North/South divide and invest in the North, we must ask those who earn far more than the rest of us to pay their fair share.
We will institute progressive tax reforms. We will oppose increases to VAT and National Insurance, both of which affect the poorest among us far more than the richest. We will increase corporation tax on large firms and create a wealth tax on the ultra-rich, annually taxing the net wealth of individuals worth over £1 million (with appropriate exception given to wealth stored in first homes at or below average market value).
We will also introduce legislation to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion, closing all loopholes and avoidance schemes for taxation and stopping any and all off-shoring of funds. We will treat all legal residents as domiciled citizens for tax purposes, so as to counter tax avoidance by non-domiciled high net worth individuals. To ensure these changes will be enforced, we will properly fund our tax office to investigate and pursue tax fraud committed by corporations and the ultra-wealthy.
Growing Local Wealth
We pledge to use the principles of Community Wealth Building (commonly known as the Preston Model) to build a prosperous local economy and foster high-quality jobs. These principles are:
- An economy owned by the community, by promoting co-operatives, municipal ownership, locally owned small and medium-sized enterprises, and insourcing (where councils bring services in-house instead of outsourcing them);
- Making financial power work for local places, by promoting local pension funds, mutual and community banks, and credit unions;
- Fair employment and just labour markets, by working with local institutions to implement a real living wage, support local unions, recruit locally, and put a stop to exploitative employment practises such as ‘fire and rehire’;
- Progressive procurement of goods and services, by making use of local businesses and suppliers wherever possible, and working with local institutions to help them do the same; and
- Socially productive use of land and property, by using community land trusts or public-commons partnerships to keep public land available for public use.
We will ensure a just transition for those working in high-carbon industries by retraining them to work in the industry of their choice, and also providing the option of early retirement to those close to retirement age. It is the duty of the government to provide job training and to invest in infrastructure to create climate and community resiliency, so that no one is left behind.
We will invest in green industries to provide well-paid public sector employment, with full training or fully-funded apprenticeships for any who want to participate. The relevant industries are: renewable energy and energy storage, public transport, land management, forestry, green construction, and climate change adaptation.
We will fund the decarbonisation of the North by investing in renewable energy, the electrification of transport, and the development of zero-carbon alternatives to other sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Investing in these things will not only reduce our carbon emissions but also improve quality of life by reducing pollution.
We will fund research into renewable power sources; waste reduction; energy storage; climate change adaptation; building insulation technologies; public transport; ecological restoration; agriculture; and land management. We will require government bodies, both local and national, to retain an ownership stake of any intellectual property resulting from such research. This will stop private companies from using publicly funded research as the foundation for their profits without repaying the public for their investment.
Community Interest Companies
We will offer long-term grants to Community Interest Companies. These are companies that have to use their profits for the public good, and include co-operatives, arts organisations, and other social enterprises. These grants will come from council funds currently used to offer short-term grants, saving organisations from having to apply and reapply for these grants and allowing them to plan long-term work to improve our communities.
Additionally, we will provide long-term operational grants to social enterprises so their workers can earn a decent wage while doing good: their service to improve our communities is important and should be supported.