Increase the minimum wage and introduce a minimum level of tax

Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere writes about changes he would like to see to the economy.

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

It’s hard to believe that the credit crunch and worldwide recession happened over 10 years ago.

That could be because we are still living with the consequences, not least a seemingly never-ending austerity.

There was a real opportunity to do things differently after 2008 but, after some initial tinkering, this opportunity was not taken up.

We still have an economy that is dominated by short-term profit taking, weak levels of investment and low wages.

We seemingly have record levels of employment but hardly anyone feels better off as many of the new jobs are low paid, short term and insecure. Real wages are still lower than before the recession.

Things can’t go on like this forever.

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Brexit should be the catalyst for a wave of new ideas about how we should organise ourselves as a country.

But the government is making such a hash of the negotiations that no one seems capable of looking beyond us limping over the finishing line next year.

Thank goodness then for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) which has published a report “Prosperity and Justice – A Plan For The New Economy”. This sets out a new model for the British economy that works for everyone.

There’s a lot in the report but it contains a whole series of practical recommendations of which the following are a flavour:

• Increase the Minimum Wage to the Living Wage to put more purchasing power into the economy and cut Government subsidies to employers.

• Set up a National Investment Bank to increase investment and improve productivity.

• Put worker representatives on company boards to help stop short term decision making. This was something Theresa May supported when she first became prime minister but has now dropped.

• Set a target for house price inflation to help keep housing more affordable and enable councils to build more houses.

• Introduce a minimum level of tax to stop tax-dodging by multi-national corporations.

It is well worth a read and available online.

No-one will agree with all of it but hopefully it will get people thinking about the changes that are needed to move towards an economy that benefits all of us and not just a few.

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