Labour Party Policy

Kate Green MP writes in the Winter 2010/11 edition of the Fabian Review:

In Labour’s current policy review, I’ll be arguing that universal benefits have an important role to play at every stage of the life course. Reinstating universal child benefit at the same rate for every child, and supporting the creation of a universal pension – based on participation, not just financial contribution – should form the bedrock of our approach. And more universalism should be accompanied by a more progressive tax system, building on the 50p top tax rate.

We welcome the fact that in the Labour Party there is now open debate about the future direction of tax and benefits policy.

We particularly welcome the fact that a policy suggestion from the Government doesn’t generate an automatic objection from the Opposition. Steven Webb, as Minister of State for Pensions, has proposed a universal pension. It is a pleasure to see the idea espoused by a Labour member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee. We are also of course pleased to see Kate Green calling for Child Benefit to remain universal. This is currently not Government policy, but we hope that it soon will be again.

What we now require is open debate, both in the Coalition Government and in the Labour Party, of reforms to follow the establishment of the Universal Credit. To individualise the Universal Credit would individualise and simplify the whole tax and benefits system. To remove the taper, at the same time as turning Income Tax allowances into cash payments, would give us a Citizen’s Income, and the administrative simplicity and employment incentives which would be the result.