Call on the next Labour leader to remove big business stranglehold on politics

Call on the next Labour leader to remove big business stranglehold on politics

Date: 8 September 2015

  • Campaigners call for an end to Britain’s ‘finance curse’, a vetoing of trade agreements and radical shakeup of the aid budget
  • Candidates told: reconnecting with Britain’s people means fighting inequality and getting big business out of politics

Social justice campaign group Global Justice Now today calls on the next Labour leader to “take big business out of politics” and end Britain’s unhealthy dependence on finance. In a set of policy proposals, campaigners tell candidates that if they’re interested in re-engaging ordinary people in politics and fighting inequality, they need to transform the role Britain plays in the world. 

The recommendations include vetoing the controversial TTIP trade agreement between the US and EU, overhauling the aid budget as a form of taxation to help build public services worldwide, radically cutting carbon emissions, clamping down on tax avoidance, taxing financial speculation, respecting migrant rights, and creating an international treaty to limit the power of multinational corporations.

Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now, said:

“The Labour leadership election has generated a real debate in British society and challenged the notion that ‘there is no alternative’ to the government’s austerity policies. But rebuilding our democracy requires bigger changes that break the stranglehold of big business on politics and that redress inequality in this country and worldwide. A key area to focus on is finance.

Britain suffers from a ‘finance curse’ where one sector has become so powerful it has undermined other aspects of our economy and society. The City needs to be tamed. The result might be that Britain is less prestigious on the global stage, but that is a price well worth paying for a fairer world and a happier society.”

Summary of policy recommendations

Make trade serve people

  • Halt negotiations and ratifications of ‘new generation’ trade deals like TTIP, TISA and CETA and scrap all ‘corporate courts’ in trade agreements. Multinational corporations should not have more power than governments
  • Halt forced liberalisation of developing world economies and instead promote alternative trade relationships, which embed the importance of public services, high standards, small enterprises and cooperatives

Tame the City

  • Introduce robust mechanisms to make companies pay their taxes internationally
  • Cancel unjust debts and make lending fair and transparent
  • Introduce a tax on financial transactions to encourage long-term sustainable investment and discourage speculation

Restore democratic accountability

  • Work towards an international human rights treaty legally binding on multinational corporations and establish a commission to tackle corporate abuse of workers’ rights and environmental sustainability
  • Limit the influence of multinational corporations over the UK political process
  • Overhaul the aid budget as a form of redistributive taxation and help countries across the world develop welfare states and decent public services
  • Respect the rights of migrants and work towards more open borders internationally

Promote climate justice

  • Commit to at least an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 without the use of offsetting
  • Commit to giving substantial reparations and transfers of technology to a global climate mechanism to help developing countries develop democratically-controlled energy systems in low carbon economies
  • Support small scale, organic agriculture and democratically controlled energy systems in the UK and overseas rather than industrial agriculture and corporate controlled energy systems

>>> Download the complete PDF of policy recommendations here