Taxing Land, Not Investment

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The report – “Taxing Land, Not Investment” – calls for the abolition of business rates and its replacement with a tax on land values, the Commercial Landowner Levy (CLL). The levy would remove buildings and machinery from calculations and tax only the land value of commercial sites, boosting investment and cutting taxes for businesses in nine out of ten English local authorities.

This ground-breaking research was led by founder of the Lib Dem Business and Entrepreneurs Network (LDBEN) Andrew Dixon, in response to mounting concerns about the negative impact of business rates on struggling high streets and the wider economy.

Key recommendations from the report include:

  • Business rates should be abolished and replaced by a Commercial Landowner Levy based on the value of the land only
  • The levy should be paid by owners rather than tenants
  • Non-residential stamp duty should be scrapped to improve the efficiency of the commercial property market
  • Commercial land should be taxed regardless of whether the buildings above it are occupied; the tax should also apply to unused and derelict commercial land

The report also finds:

  • The CLL would mean lower taxes for businesses in 92% of English local authorities. In places like Oldham, Blackburn, West Bromwich, Barrow, Middlesbrough and 92 other local authorities, average taxes would be cut by over 25%, and in some cases by as much as 46%
  • The manufacturing and technology sectors would be the most significant beneficiaries of the CLL, receiving tax cuts of over 20%. Retailers in struggling areas would also receive a boost.
  • The CLL would represent a tax cut initially, but is likely to be at least revenue-neutral in the long-term. Redistribution between local authorities would be adjusted to ensure no change in local funding.
  • By taxing landowners rather than businesses, half a million SMEs would be spared the bureaucratic burden of property taxation. With less plots of land than individual businesses, the CLL would save councils both time and money

Liberal Democrat members will debate and vote on the proposals at the party’s Autumn Conference in Brighton next month.

The full report can be found here.

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said:

“Business rates were a badly designed policy to begin with and have become an unacceptable drag on our economy. They are a tax on productive investment at a time of chronically weak productivity growth, and a burden on high streets struggling to adapt to the rise of online retail.

“Many of the areas around the country that voted for Brexit feel they have been left behind. In place of policies the Brexiters offer only rhetoric. Great swathes of the country demand better, and this policy offers change to the manufacturing industry and the small towns passed over by economic growth.”

Chris Richards, Head of Business Environment Policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation said:

“This report is a strong addition to the debate on the future of business rates and property taxation, which despite many reviews is not an issue that has gone away.

“Manufacturing as a sector with high capital intensity is perversely affected by business rates, as investments in productivity boosting plant and machinery are included in tax calculations – for some manufacturers making significant investments this is enough to put them off making that investment in the UK.

“Innovative solutions will be needed to remove this challenge while ensuring stability from a future tax regime, and today’s report is an important contribution to finding a solution.”

Philip Salter, Founder and Director of The Entrepreneur’s Network, said:

“Business rates are a tax on investment, adding to Britain’s productivity woes. Introducing a Commercial Landowner Levy would remove a key disincentive to investment and reduce administration costs for thousands of business owners. This is exactly the sort of policy entrepreneurs need to thrive.”

Founder of the Liberal Democrat Business and Entrepreneurs Network Andrew Dixon said:

“By only taxing land and not the productive capital above it, this reform would remove a major disincentive to investment, boosting productivity and contributing to a necessary revival in UK industry. While separate action is needed to ensure online retailers pay their fair share of corporation tax, our proposals would offer a lifeline to struggling high streets.

“I am delighted to support this initiative which I believe would boost business and enterprise across the UK, and I am grateful to members of the Liberal Democrats Business & Entrepreneurs Network for their valuable contributions to this important research”

The Government must stop murky games and release no-deal analysis

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The Government have refused to guarantee that MPs will see the full impact analysis of a no-deal Brexit before the final vote on departure from the EU.

The Government are clearly losing the plot.

Refusing to show MPs the full damage a no-deal Brexit would inflict on our country makes a mockery of the discredited mantra ‘Taking Back Control’.

The Government must stop these murky games and pledge to release this analysis.

There’s no denying a no-deal would be a disaster, but the Chequers proposal would be equally bad. No one should kid themselves that there is a good deal.

The Government are clearly losing the plot.

In the same breath they talk up trade with Africa and claim that a no-Deal Brexit with our largest trading partner, the EU, would not be a catastrophe.

This week, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation warned that it is “not realistic” to believe the UK can start trading under WTO rules the day after Brexit in March.

Without WTO rules, just imagine the true scale of the crisis facing the country

The damage for businesses and families unveiled in the Conservative Government’s no-deal Brexit papers are clear to see.

But the Government’s assertions were based on falling back on WTO rules and now even the WTO have warned there is no certainty the UK can follow these immediately.

Without WTO rules, just imagine the true scale of the crisis facing the country now because of Theresa May’s incompetent Government.

No matter what the deal, Brexit will be a disaster.

The people must have the chance to reject this Brexit mess with a final say on the deal, including the option to remain in the EU.

Queens Head roadworks & closure in October

David Walker in West Felton

In some welcome news, there are going to be some more substantial roadworks at the Queens Head / Rednal Mile junction in October. Welcome because this junction has been shocking for ages and was particularly dangerous earlier in the year. I have been pressing for a more permanent fix than the usual patching and surface dressing for months.

Full details of the closure can be seen here:

The roadworks will involve some disruption as the road will be closed for a day. The remainder will be done under traffic lights.

Road closure with diversion

18th – 19th of October 2018

Traffic lights

20th – 23rd of October 2018

This troublesome junction has been a problem for ages, with many fudged repairs and a growing pothole as a result. The pothole covers most of the junction still, as much of the original road surface layers are still missing. The most recent repair of the deepest part of the pothole was the best by far. However, the junction needs plaining – where the top layers are removed and relaid.

plaining of the A5 during the construction of Nescliffe services
Plaining off the A5 during the construction of Nescliffe services when I was setting out the slip roads.

Hopefully, these repairs will put this problem junction to bed for some considerable time to come. However, with the poor record of the previous contractor and with the ongoing £5m/year cuts to roads I will be holding my breath for now.

Queens Head roadworks

Road Closure: Main Street, Queens Head (from the public house to south east of the junction for Queens Head junction to Heath House junction) and 100m approx on Queens Head junction to Heath House junction (from the junction of Main Street).

Start Date: 15th October 2018

End Date: 23rd October 2018

Purpose: Carriageway resurfacing under a road closure from 18/10/18-19/10/18 and 3 way traffic lights from 20/10/18-23/10/18

If anybody has any queries about this closure they can call Customer Services on 0345 6789006, or contact the Street Works Team on

See also my previous post and video:

Growing traffic & pothole problems vs £5m cuts in roads T

The word is that the £5m cuts will now for 3 consecutive years and not the 2 that I previously reported.

All set to knock on your first door?

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

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No surprise the Brexit Secretary is hot and flustered

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

In a speech yesterday the Brexit Secretary set out the no-deal Brexit papers.

No one will be surprised that the Brexit Secretary was hot and flustered. What he set out means a disaster for British families and British jobs.

We also have yet further confirmation that there is no prospect that a plan will be delivered in the next six months, not least on the Northern Ireland border and post-Brexit customs arrangements.

No one should kid themselves that there is a good deal.

Over a million UK citizens living across the EU had no say in 2016. They now face the prospect of losing access to their pensions and bank accounts as a result of Theresa May’s disastrous negotiations.

Given the nightmare consequences Brexit will have for their lives, they deserve an opportunity to stop this mess. They, like all British citizens, deserve a final say on the deal with an opportunity to remain in the EU.

Call out Corbyn

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Yesterday, I sent you a video of Corbyn refusing to answer a question about whether we would be better off after Brexit five times.

Already this has been seen fifty thousandtimes on Facebook thanks to you all sharing it online – and with no sign of it slowing down.

You can watch it yourself here:


More than 7 in 10 Labour voters want to have a vote on the final deal that Theresa May has put together – with an option to stay in the EU.

They know – as we all do – that Britain will be poorer after Brexit, with fewer allies, weaker trade links, and less power on the global stage.

And they know that those who will suffer the most are the poorest and most vulnerable in our society – the people that Jeremy Corbyn and his party claims to represent.

We need to continue to put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to insist that the people have the final say.

Will you help us get an answer out of him that Channel 4 did not: Will we be better off after Brexit?

Email him
Tweet him

You could even phone his office on: 02072193545

Our “official opposition” needs to start acting like our official opposition. The Labour party needs to stop aiding and abetting the Tories when it comes to Brexit, grow a backbone, and represent their members, their voters and their supporters.

Until then, it is up to us.

With you, we are going to stop Brexit – with or without Jeremy Corbyn’s help.

Sal Speaks: August 2018

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

It may be mid-August but the bad news about Brexit is increasing by the day! Senior Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg continue to peddle their populist nonsense, against the facts: the pound dropping against the Euro; international organisations moving their EU HQ out of Britain; and even the Governor of the Bank of England confirming Brexit will not be good for the economy. Only Vince Cable and the Lib Dems remain totally committed to an Exit from Brexit, and giving the people a Final Say on the deal, with more regions that voted leave now changing their minds.

We Liberal Democrats have a key role to get the positive message about staying in the EU out there. Thank you if you and your local party have already taken part in our summer anti-Brexit campaign! If you haven’t started, or want to talk to more people, please get out there now. Every local party can access more resources for their campaign here, so just get out there and campaign!

Europe_March_2018_13.JPGI suspect that there will be much discussion about Brexit at Federal Conference in Brighton as well as an exciting agenda of debates, fringes, exhibition and training. You can find out what’s going on in the main hall hereand what fringes are on here.

If you haven’t booked yet, please do so now. You can register for conference here. If you are booking for your first ever conference, then please also sign up for my President’s Webinar for first time attendees at the end of August. That’ll be your opportunity to ask any question (no matter how daft you think it is!). We’ll email all first time attendees in the next few days so you can sign up.

We will be debating the revised discipline process review at Conference. After the debate and reference back from Spring Conference, we have taken note of the concerns raised, and there is much more information available on how the process will work. We are also talking to those who had concerns, we will have a webinar before Conference, and there will be Lib Dem Voice articles to explain what is now being proposed. Please read the details here! These are big changes to the discipine process, making it independent of senior people in the party, as well as streamlining and speeding up the system, both of which many of you asked for.

Your Federal Board remains committed to delivering John Alderdice’s Review into race equality in the party, and we are asking you to vote on a new Vice President to champion race equality, as well as the Racial Diversity Campaign to help us deliver training, mentoring and support for our BAME members, helping them to achieve elected office as councillors, assembly members and members of parliament.

We have published the recommendations of the 2017 General Election Review, commissioned by the Federal Board and Federal Audit and Scrutiny Committee. Your Federal Committees are learning from both the general recommendations and those for a snap general election, and acting on them. It is also good to see what went well and where we have learned and changed things after the 2015 Review.

sal_fawcett_society.jpgLast month I joined Lib Dem Women and the Campaign for Gender Balance at the Fawcett Society and 50:50 Parliament day in Westminster.

Myself and other Lib Dem speakers were able to talk positively about what we are doing to get more women elected, including women from the other three underrepresented groups (LGBT, BAME and disabled).

Women like Lucy Salek, our brilliant candidate in Lewisham East, are leading the way.

Have a good rest of summer, and I look forward to seeing you in Brighton.

Bigots are not welcome in the Liberal Democrats

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The last ten days have seen major stories of racism in both of Britain’s major parties.

What is happening in the Labour party – and Boris Johnson’s comments this week – are frightening to many Jewish and Muslim people living in Britain.

This is a reflection of the way the politics of identity dominates politics today and attracts comments, sometimes critical or offensive, about particular groups.

I expressed this concern 2 decades ago in two pamphlets for the think tank, Demos. I would stress now, as then, that liberals view people as individuals, rather than through the prism of their race, religion or sexuality.

The lazy use of group stereotypes should be unacceptable to us all. But we must not be blind to the fact that these issues affect our party as well.

The Liberal Democrats have always been at the forefront of the fight for equality, and we have a record on these issues of which we’re very proud.

But sadly, the truth is that a very small minority of our own members do hold some views that are fundamentally incompatible with our values.

Our party’s constitution is clear:

We reject all prejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation and oppose all forms of entrenched privilege and inequality.

As a liberal, I respect people’s rights to hold different views to my own, but my message to everyone is that racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sexism, transphobia and bigotry are not welcome, and not tolerated, in the Liberal Democrats.

If the last week’s events have disturbed you, as they have me, then here are a few practical things we can do about it together:

  • Stand up to prejudice – if you witness any of the issues listed above in this party, please, call it out. You will not find yourself alone – and you will always find allies in our members. You can also report these issues here:
  • Ask someone from an under-represented group to join the party. We are a stronger political force if we look like the Britain we seek to represent. You can ask someone from an under-represented group to join here:
  • If you know someone who would make a fantastic candidate – and is from an under-represented group, encourage them to stand for election. They can start that process here:

Our party must be a place where every person regardless of gender, religion, race or sexuality is treated fairly.

The Alderdice report I shared with you earlier this year made it clear that we still have much work to do to change the culture of our own party on diversity.

I promise we will not shy away from this issue, no matter how tough it gets.

The 2017 General Election Review

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

If you submit this form, the Liberal Democrats, locally and nationally, may use the information submitted, including your political views, to further our objectives, share it with our elected representatives and contact you in future using any of the means provided. Some contacts may be automated. You may opt out of some or all contacts or exercise your other legal rights by contacting us. Further details are in our Privacy Policy at

Why conscience led me to leave the Conservatives

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

I say no – conscience comes before one’s own ambitions and equality, tolerance & justice are far more important that one’s own career path. The future of our great United Kingdom and our future generations is far more important than anything else in my view and worth fighting for every step of the way.

Politics surely should be about policies and not personal attacks – what a shame it hasn’t remained that way? What I did not realise is that this was just the beginning of a long and rocky ride over the coming months where I saw a real lurch to the right, in the words of the former Tory MP Stephen Phillips QC the party has started to mould itself into ‘UKIp-Lite’.

This lurch to the right began to be visible to me during the EU Referendum campaign. Having been instrumental in setting up ‘British Indians for In’ with the now Employment Minister Alok Sharma MP, I travelled up and down the country talking to the British Indian Community about the benefits of remaining in the EU.

Currently the only political leader and party outlining the inconsistencies in the Brexit argument are the Liberal Democrats & Sir Vince Cable – everyone else seems to have vanished & with them their ‘remain’ arguments too. That for me is still not the issue (even though some would say it remarkable how ‘remain’ politicians are now silent) – the issues are the by-products of the referendum vote for example a rise in hate crime in London and across the country.

Ethnic minority communities in particular the youth in these communities have been subjected to abuse which has divided our strong and united country. This has in my view been brought about by this constant lurch to the right by the Government.

This surely cannot be correct? Would we like our children or family members being treated differently just because they have a different accent? It is unfortunately where we currently are in our country. Whilst over 17 million people voted to leave the EU, over 16 million voted to stay.

The real challenge is finding a suitable way to represent all people and be an inclusive country for all regardless of background, ethnicity or religion. There is evidently still time to acquire an exit from Brexit as it is apparent there is growing support for a vote on the final deal.

Having made many lifelong friends in the Conservative Party who do genuinely want to see a brighter future for all, it seems truly a shame that some have shifted the entire political discourse and agenda. We are looking to develop our trade with nations like India but do not seem to be bothered how Indians in the UK feel about their role in the UK and their place within British society. Stopping Indian students from studying here, stopping Indian restaurants from bringing specialist chefs over for their restaurants, making it harder for families to be reunited due to stringent visa rules on Indian nationals.

How possibly can you on one hand look to want to develop trade between nations such as India but not welcome Indians to the UK. It really is hypocritical – maybe we should wake up and smell the coffee?

All of this shows a clear unwillingness to engage with ethnic communities at grass root levels and understand what it is they want to see in a post Brexit UK.

As a British Indian who has been involved in community issues for many years and as the son of refugees who came to the UK in the 1970’s due to the expulsion of Ugandan Asians by Idi Amin, I cannot see how such heartless actions can be carried out. It could have been my family 40 odd years ago!

After much deliberation I came to the conclusion social justice, equality and positive race relations are at the heart of my rationale and currently there is only one party that is looking to try and promote such an agenda and that is the Liberal Democrat Party.

Kishan Devani FRSA was the Deputy Chairman of the London Conservative Party from 2014 to 2016, a 2015 Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservatives & a 2016 London Assembly Candidate for the Conservatives.

Kishan Devani FRSA is now a Treasurer’s Envoy for the Liberal Democrat Party, Vice-President of the Liberal Democrats Campaign for Race Equality & Vice-Chairman of the Liberal Democrats in Business.