Liberal Democrats have today passed a motion setting out the blueprint for a 21st century economy.
Members overwhelmingly supported a plan to provide good jobs and opportunity at work, ensure business serves the common good, and encourage strong communities and thriving places.
The motion sets out the Liberal Democrats’ intention to harness technological change to build a better future, and to stand up to vested interests that use monopoly power to maintain a stranglehold over the economy.
The party acknowledges that the current economy is simply not working for people in Britain, with a minority doing extremely well while countless others see their incomes stagnate. Little is being done to address the long-standing weaknesses in the British economy, which remains unbalanced geographically, over-reliant on financial services, and too light on investment.
The motion puts forwards proposals to create a new opportunity economy that really works for everyone, including:
- Reforming the labour market to give control and choice back to workers, with strengthened rights for those in the gig economy, a powerful new Worker Protection Enforcement Authority to protect those in precarious work, and a ‘Good Employer’ kite mark to promote good firms
- Investing in skills, in particular in lifelong opportunities for retraining, so people can better adjust to the fast-moving economy of the 21st Century through: a national skills strategy, an expanded Skills and Training Levy, and most importantly – new government-funded lifelong learning accounts for all adults
- Reforming the ways companies and markets are governed to entrench a longer-term, more sustainable approach, with a new Companies Act for the 21st Century, so large companies fully reflect the interests of all stakeholders, serve the common good and are accountable for their actions
- Challenging the growing concentration of market power – including in energy, banking and the “big tech” – with stronger regulation of monopolies, enhanced consumer protections, and greater rights over personal data
- Helping businesses to adapt to the challenges of the digital economy, with forward-thinking ‘automation plans’ to prepare for technological change and a ‘Hippocratic oath’ taken by innovators with regards to potentially disruptive technology
Commenting on the proposals, Treasury Spokesperson Baroness Kramer said:
“People are working hard and trying to make the best for themselves and their families, but they aren’t getting back from society what they put in. The Liberal Democrats recognise that many people are struggling, and demand better.
“These proposals are a bold statement of intent about the kind of economy Liberal Democrats want: one that is dynamic and prosperous but also fair and sustainable, providing individuals with fulfilling work and generating growth within the environmental limits set by our planet.”