Left Unity calls for an immediate end to austerity and a reversal of the cuts in public spending imposed by the Conservative-led government.
We need an economy run democratically, not controlled by the few in the interests of 1% of the population. This means the principle of common ownership of all natural resources and means of producing wealth, and an end to the dominance of private financial interests such as the City of London over the economy. We stand for ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs’.
Full employment, as existed in the post-war period up until the 1970s, should be a primary objective for any left government. We would achieve full employment for all those below retirement age on the basis of a 35 hour week, with no loss of income from any reduction in hours.
We are for up to a million ‘climate jobs’ – a massive investment in renewable energy, improved housing, public transport and sustainable technology (see Environment). We also want more ‘purple jobs’: jobs in the caring sector in support of all those in need. We would introduce free childcare provision for all pre-school age children and re-instate children’s centre services in all areas where they have been closed.
Left Unity would impose a ban on all zero-hours contracts, converting existing ones to proper contracts.
We stand for new forms of public ownership, socialisation and cooperative ways of running businesses and the economy. We are for public ownership of the banking system, as well as all essential public utilities including transport, telecoms, energy and water companies, and the supermarkets.
However we are not for running these in the old top-down way. We support new forms of governance for all these institutions involving representatives of the workforce and local communities – and a cap on top rates of pay at no more than three times the average wage.
The privatised companies have raised prices faster than inflation, made huge profits and still neglected investment in essential infrastructure. We would, for example, combine and socialise the energy companies into one democratically controlled institution to reduce energy costs immediately.
We would pay for investment in our future with effective taxation on corporations and the richest in society, while making the tax system as a whole much more progressive.
This will require reversing corporate tax cuts, bringing back a 40% rate for large companies, but cutting rates for small businesses. We would reinstate a 50% tax rate for those on over £75,000 a year while scrapping income tax for those earning less than £20,000.
Left Unity would crack down on tax havens and tax avoidance by the rich. All money earned by individuals in Britain will be taxed in Britain.
We need a tax on financial transactions across the European Union (sometimes known as a Robin Hood Tax), as well as a wealth tax and an inheritance tax rising to 90% on all assets worth 100 times the average estate, and a land value tax collected centrally and redistributed to local authorities according to need as a replacement for council tax. We would scrap VAT because it is a tax that hits the poorest people when they are buying essential goods.
We are seeing a recovery for the few not the many. Real wages (after inflation) have fallen for the majority in work. Meanwhile bankers’ bonuses and executive pay are going up again.
We call for an immediate £10 an hour minimum wage for all, which should be strictly enforced and adjusted regularly in line with inflation and housing costs in areas such as London.
We call for all the major British financial institutions to be brought under public control. The financial crash of 2008 led to the government taking over banks such as RBS and Lloyds – but running them as before.
Taxpayers have lost billions yet bonuses continue to be paid to executives who led us to the brink of economic collapse. This has to end: publicly controlled banks would scrap the bonus culture completely, and direct bank lending to socially desirable forms of investment and cooperatives, not buy-to-let landlords and speculators.
Workers must be allowed the democratic right to stand up for themselves. Left Unity would repeal all the anti-union laws, which restrict workers’ rights to organise in defence of their wages and conditions. These laws, passed by the Tories between 1980 and 1994 and kept in place by Labour, give unelected judges sweeping powers to stop strikes and ban solidarity action.
We support calls for a charter of trade union rights, including an unrestricted right to strike. 1 May, International Workers’ Day, should be a public holiday.
Left Unity is active in movements and campaigns across the left, working to create an alternative to the main political parties.
Left Unity is a member of the European Left Party.
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