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The Guardian view on the Lib Dems: the welcome return of tax-and-spend politics | Editorial

Sir Ed Davey says he is offering a programme for real change. Voters should seriously consider it when casting their ballots

The Liberal Democrat manifesto is either the last hurrah for redistributive politics in Britain – or signals its comeback. At its launch on Monday, the Lib Dems proposed taxing the super-rich, frequent flyers and banks, and using the proceeds to pay for the NHS, schools and international development. This is the right thing to do. If we want the country’s resources put to better use then part of the answer lies in reining in the wealthiest people in the country.

Some may argue that whatever the Lib Dems say is irrelevant, as the party is not going to be in power on 5 July. That misses the point. The Lib Dems can act as a driver of change in British politics, influencing the agenda of the country without necessarily being the political party that benefits most from the change. With the current budget deficit at 6% and post-pandemic labour shortages still a problem, in the short term politicians must consider tax increases to fund public services. While experts can quibble about the amounts raised, Sir Ed Davey has done the public a favour by clarifying who would lose out and who would gain under his party’s proposals.

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