Open, competitive, free markets are the best and most efficient system for providing general goods and services. At the same time, successful nations depend on a strong and capable state to provide fundamentals such as the rule of law, public order, energy supply, transportation, education, and to ensure that free markets function properly and do not descend into cartels or monopolies. The public and private sectors are complementary parts of our society and should not be regarded as opponents. This is the SDP’s distinct Social Market position.
- Natural monopolies such as railways, gas transportation and electricity distribution will be returned to public ownership. Capital will be raised for this via a British sovereign wealth fund and investors will be compensated at fair value. Productivity and customer service incentives will be applied across these enterprises.
- We will establish a state-run National Development Bank (NDB). It will give all UK citizens and businesses a right to basic bank account with guaranteed deposits, fair returns on savings and a no-frills ultra-low-cost superannuation and investment service. It will also lend to large UK infrastructure projects and a portfolio of UK start-up businesses in key strategic sectors. NDB profits will be returned to the Treasury.
- We will pursue an active industrial policy centred on productivity and investment and provide a long-term planning framework for the skills, technologies, energy resources and transport infrastructure required for economic growth.
- We will specifically target an increase in manufacturing as a proportion of GDP, a reduction in the UK’s trade deficit and new industrial development in the UK regions.
- We will target further increases in the National Living Wage so that it exceeds the OECD definition of low pay (two thirds of median income) within a single parliamentary cycle.
- We shall maintain public expenditure at the affordable level of approximately 40% of GDP, investing strategically across the cycle in frontline public services. We shall avoid unsustainable increases above this level and target a reduction in government debt as a percentage of GDP across the business cycle.
- A British Sovereign Wealth Fund will ensure the efficient and accountable management of national assets.