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Confident about Conference

August 16, 2010 5:16 PM

ALTER is confident of having a 'good' Party Conference this year, having noted that two policy motions on the agenda feature the role that resource taxes can play in helping to turn around the UK economy.

A Motion to be debated on the Monday 21st September in Liverpool on "Green Taxation" reasserts the Party's belief "that a key step in creating an environmentally sustainable economy is to establish a system of taxation which rewards activities which are non-polluting and resourceefficient, achieved through a gradual switch from taxation on income and employment to taxation on pollution and resource depletion". However ALTER's Chair Dr Tony Vickers has written to the Motion's mover, Cllr Paul Burall, pointing out that the word "depletion" would be better replaced with "usage". The same word change was accepted in a motion of a similar nature in 1998, when ALTER President Chris Huhne was the mover.

Economic theory would indicate that if a Government becomes 'hooked' on the revenue from a 'bad' like pollution, there is a danger that the aim of changing behaviour will conflict with the desire to achieve "Green Tax Switch". Much better to look for revenue from renewable resources like land.

On the Tuesday morning, ALTER member James Graham will move a Motion "Ensuring Fairness in a Time of Austerity", which calls for "Liberal Democrats in government to..." (among other things) "Insist that Liberal Democrat ministers are given the freedom and resources to commission research to fully assess the viability and practicalities of increasing taxation on wealth - including land values".

ALTER sees one of its main priorities as being supplying our Ministers in the Coalition Government with information to assist with building the case for such "research" - and with being part of the "resources" that could undertake it. We would best do that by working through colleagues in the Coalition for Economic Justice, particularly the Professional Land Reform Group, consisting of academics and practicing professionals with an interest in the subject of land value capture.

The deadline for amendments to these and other Conference motions to be submitted is noon on 6th September.

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