By Roger Neville.
The Labour Government under Tony Blair started so well with the reforms and policies highlighted in earlier blogs. However New Labour, and especially Blair morphed into a Thatcherite view of the world and I believe felt that that view was the only way to cling on to power. Power as a goal in itself is unworthy and I believe that the contrary view is what has appealed to the many new members of the Labour party since Jeremy Corbyn’s involvement in the leadership hustings a year ago and since. Blair’s policies became increasingly Thatcherite or Torylite. His policies on housing, tax and trade unions did nothing to overturn the inexorable drift towards the unequal society we have today where the rich, including him, get richer and the poor, particularly the very poor, get less and are blamed for their own predicament. And of course the worst legacy he left the Labour party was his support for the “neocon” Iraq war; a legacy not only for Labour but for the whole world which will last for many more years.
I believe that we should seize the opportunity for radical policies. The housing policy of Thatcher and Blair is a ticking time-bomb. We cannot expect our economy to be based on relentless increase in property prices. Funds should be made available, from Hinkley Point and HS2, to enable local councils, local people, to once again build up its own housing stock to be let at reasonable rents. This will then make Buy-to-let less economic, and hopefully uneconomic, with two results. There will be more housing available and affordable and a huge reduction in housing benefit going into the hands of property speculators. There should also be legislation to deny the right to own property in the UK unless you are resident in the UK. That should free up swathes of affordable housing particularly in London and the big cities. London could then supply its own support labour in policing, hospitals and councils locally without the workers commuting huge distances at high cost.
I also believe that Labour should wholeheartedly support the efforts of the new Tory regime to clamp down on designers and purveyors of obnoxious tax avoidance devices – although since that announcement overtures seem to be being made to Apple to up sticks from Ireland where the EU seems to have caught them out and continue with their sweet heart deal here. We must not let the Tories water down what appears to me to be potentially a very effective weapon against the non tax paying rich.
There is so much more we can do by working together to enhance the lives of everyone in the UK.
Roger Neville is a retired Inspector of Taxes and has dealt with the largest prosecution cases (often dressed up as avoidance). Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org