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Young Labour demands wealth super-tax and scrapping of ‘right to buy’

Tax the rich and greedyYoung Labour’s first conference with written policy motions has seen delegates vote for radical measures to address the cost of living crisis and kick-start the economy.

The two-day event in Bradford, which concluded yesterday (Sunday) voted to call on the Labour manifesto to include a one off  “super-tax” which would seize ten per cent of the assets of the richest ten per cent of the population. A policy package on housing, including ending the ‘right to buy’, introducing rent controls and a mass council house building programme, was also passed. Delegates voted for the strengthening of trade union rights, renationalising the railways, compulsory sex education in schools and a programme of industrial growth among other measures.

James Elliott, moving the super-tax motion, asserted that such a tax would raise hundreds of billions of pounds, enough to wipe out the deficit and provide for budgets of many years to come. He said the proposals would bring about a “fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of wealth and power”. The motion contends that such a tax “would be ineffective unless controls on the movement of capital were implemented” – for if they were not “then Britain runs the risk of its wealth being moved abroad into tax havens”. It continues:

Young Labour asserts its pragmatism by noting that the tax levy on wealth should be able to be paid either immediately, in instalments or upon death, the latter two being subject to interest rates.

One delegate observed that she initially thought the motion was too radical and extreme, “but when I thought about it I couldn’t think of one good argument against”.

The housing motion, moved by Conrad Landin, calls for Labour’s pledged 200,000 new homes a year to be built and owned by councils. Alongside regulated rents, it calls for the classification of “affordable” housing – which currently includes housing available at up to 80 per cent of market rates – to be scrapped. It would be replaced with ‘living rents’, calculated on a regional basis through a framework similar to the living wage.

An amendment to the motion, which would have seen the clause demanding ending ‘right to buy’ removed, was lost. The change in wording was proposed by Young Labour national committee “ordinary rep” Rachel Hodson. In the debate on the amendment, some delegates suggested that disallowing council tenants from buying their homes at a discount was out of tune with “aspirations”. Other delegates took offence at the suggestion that one could only take pride in one’s home as a homeowner.

Alex Halligan, one of six trade union reps on the Young Labour national committee, successfully moved a motion in defence of trade union rights, which demands that employers should not be able to use ballot technicalities to call off industrial action. He said: “Last year, at the trade union hustings at youth conference, our chair Simon Darvill said he would support a general strike and secondary picketing. I’m calling for more moderate measures that I hope we can all agree on.”

Labour’s youth wing will also press for the manifesto to include universal free school meals for primary school children – a policy pioneered by Labour councils such as Islington. Expanding the welfare state was indeed a running theme of the policy debates: a further motion calling for free public transport for those on unemployment benefit, was passed by a large majority.

German-style representation of workers on company boards was passed, to ensure “workers have fair representation in the decision-making process”.

This significant shift to the left follows Saturday’s defiant rejection of the proposed reforms to the trade union link. There was also a mass walk-out from the Labour Students national conference on Friday, when student bigwigs refused to allow a motion calling for internal elections to be conducted via “one member one vote” onto the agenda. Scores of Labour clubs had previously threatened to disaffiliate from the National Organisation of Labour Students (NOLS) if the motion was not heard. Currently, NOLS elections occur at the national conference, with only a few delegates from each Labour club taking part.

A motion calling for the abolition of the House of Lords was lost.

2 Comments

  1. swatantra says:

    Young Labour are the tops! Well done! You’ve restored my faith in ‘yuff’.

  2. John reid says:

    The way I see it Unite paid for a coach for £150.00 for left wingers like D Young and Alex halligan to turn up and vote in bulk for unites policies, despite what the leadership wanted,but heh, get rid of those infiltrators progress heh!

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