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Budget radicalism

Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
Presenter
The Politics Show

On this week's Politics Show we asked: what would a really radical budget look like .

Max Cotton
David Lloyd George: looking down on Max?

In 1909 David Lloyd George's People's Budget taxed the wealthy to pay for the new welfare state.

It was perhaps the most radical budget in British history.

One hundred years on, with the economy and the public finances in trouble, is there a new opportunity to be radical?

The Politics Show's Max Cotton set out in Lloyd George's footsteps in search of Budget radicalism.


Expert views

Max spoke to four economic thinkers about their radical ideas:

VINCE CABLE MP is the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats and their Treasury spokesman.

Lloyd George in 1909 had a really radical Budget. There were higher taxes on the very wealthy and the money was used to help pensioners and the low paid.

And we have got to do the same today. Millions of people below the minimum wage pay income tax and that's quite wrong.


RADICAL IDEA : No income tax for lowest paid


LORD DESAI is an economist and a Labour peer. He has been sacked twice from Labour's frontbench for speaking out.

He is about to publish his first novel.

We have a very serious crisis of capitalism - of the free market system. It is a system which has benefited us, but now it required drastic reform.

And Gordon Brown has got the opportunity to be like Franklin Roosevelt, like Lloyd George, the man who redefines the way the system work.

My favourite idea is Citizen's Income - an unconditional payment of £100 per week for every citizen, which replaces unemployment benefit, pensions, income support, all those things.

And it puts no condition on whether you are in work or you are out of work, whether you are in a home or you are looking after your elderly parents. Everybody gets £100 per week.


RADICAL IDEA : Citizen's Income of £100 per week


CITY BOY aka Geraint Anderson has written a best-selling book exposing excess in the City, where he worked for 12 years.

First of all look at the bonus culture, because it just encourages short-term reckless gambling.

Geraint Anderson

Then get the Financial Services Authority - the city regulator here - to really have more teeth, to have greater powers and to be well staffed.

Finally lets have some fairness the directors of the banks in which the taxpayer has a stake should have their pay basically at senior civil service level.


Max : To be frank you know about this don't you, you know about bonus culture.

Well I mean for 12 years in the city, all I ever thought about and all my other colleagues generally was next year's bonus, and that encourages incredibly short term thinking and that means you give loans to Americans who can't afford them.

RADICAL IDEA : Cap on bankers' pay


JILL KIRBY advised the Conservative leadership on tax issues as part of Lord Forsyth's tax commission.

I think a radical new approach to public spending and radical cuts to what Government does supposedly on our behalf.

Max : What does that mean?

People would see a loss of layers of government and, of bureaucracy, of authorities and a loss of regional development agencies who knows what they really do. They would see ideally a loss of much of devolved government. They wouldn't see a loss of teachers of nurses, of doctors.

Jill Kirby

Max : Everyone is talking about spending money to deal with this economic downturn and you're not.

No because we've no more money to spend. All the money we're now spending is, all the money this government is spending is debt on the shoulders of the next generation and the one after that.

RADICAL IDEA : Slash public spending


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