Kingston and Surbiton candidates outline their approaches to the economy

With the general election on Thursday, the Surrey Comet has asked all the candidates for Kingston and Surbiton for their positions on four important issues: health, the economy, Brexit and education.

These are their approaches to the economy.

Chinners, Official Monster Raving Loony Party (taken from the party’s ‘Manicfesto’)

We will issue a 99p coin to save on change.

We will not join the single European currency. We will invite all European countries to join the pound.

Rich people will be taxed to pay for the printing of money, as they use most of it.

We pledge that all UK taxpayers will receive nectar points from HMRC every April 5.

We will further complicate the UK tax system so that large companies can no longer find loopholes.

Graham Matthews, UKIP

Brexit allows us to keep the current net contribution of £13 billion and spend it as we wish. Combined with the £11billion reduction in foreign aid, and savings from scrapping HS2 and ending the Barnett formula, we can free up £35 billion in total.

We will spend £11billion of this on the NHS and social care, remove VAT from domestic energy, scrap the green levies, and abolish the TV licence. The personal tax allowance will go up to £13,500, the 40 per cent threshold will go up to £55,000.

Brexit also allows us to take back control of all tax and industrial strategy. In many new industries there is little or no British manufacturing (e.g. electric vehicles, renewables, even trains) and this will be reversed.

Laurie South, Labour Party

We have a Tory economy that is all glitter and little substance. It is built on individuals racking up debt, buying while interest rates are low and before the economic problems people believe are coming: low wages, zero-hours contracts, and forced self-employment; low investment in skills and infrastructure; a failure to invest in research, plant and industrial capacity and the use of profits to keep dividends high. It is unsustainable.

Labour’s policy is to reverse this with a minimum wage, investment in skills, research and infra-structure that encourages growth (broadband, rail and roads): a National Investment Bank providing patient capital and investment for industrial growth: aid to small business: and a strengthened export support system.

Michael Basman, independent

England is a nation of shop-keepers, said Napoleon – if only! Business rates and high street rents are now so high it is hard to maintain a shop. But where we have seen enormous growth is among small traders and the self-employed.

Everyone now has their own little van festooned with signs for pilates classes and puppy care. Yet HMRC is trying to stifle this growth with endless taxation rules in an attempt to force us back into old fashioned PAYE employment.

Taxation has become a blight. The country needs tax to run on, but why cannot it be a simple bill, easy to pay like any other, instead of the yearly nightmare of incomprehensible rules and time consuming book-keeping? Hence I will be suggesting a simple tax on income, and no intrusive investigation of our expenditure by HMRC.

James Berry, Conservative Party

Despite all the gloomy predictions, the economy has fared well since the referendum vote. We have the second fastest growing economy in the G7 and more people in work than ever before.

Labour and the Lib Dems would put this at risk with increased tax on the very businesses we rely on to invest and provide people with jobs. In Kingston, I helped secure the £70 million investment of Lidl to the borough bringing 500 jobs and led the campaign for 30 minutes’ free parking to support our High Street shops.

Chris Walker, Green Party

We need a more equal society and investment in things like renewables, public transport, affordable and sustainable housing that can create decent jobs as well as help tackle the environmental crisis.

The Green Party would introduce a simple basic income to replace the benefits system. Greens on the London Assembly have brought in the London Living Wage and we would now introduce a pay ratio where the highest earning employee can earn a maximum of ten times as much as the lowest.

Ed Davey, Liberal Democrats

The biggest challenge facing the UK economy is the extreme version of Brexit, which forces the UK out of the single market. This will hit jobs and local firms badly. It is possible not to be in the EU and yet be in the single market, as other countries are. So I would argue for a less damaging form of Brexit, to protect our trading firms.

Liberal Democrat economic policy would focus on helping new entrepreneurs – with our entrepreneurs’ start-up allowance, and on training, boosting apprenticeships in the industries of the future. We would work with industry to benefit from the growing green economy, with everything from more renewable energy, better public transport and more electric vehicles.

We are proud to have a fully costed manifesto and to be independently praised for our approach, in sharp contrast to the criticism from the IFS of Labour and Conservative economic budget plans.


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