Summary of Post-Brexit Economy discussion

In response to the CPF discussion on the post-Brexit economy, we received submissions from 102 CPF groups, representing 117 constituencies plus one Conservatives Abroad group and at least 1054 members. Since the 2017 general election, more than 3,500 members from over 300 constituencies have now participated in CPF discussions. Thank you to everybody who has been involved: your ideas are helping to shape our country's future.

What follows is an overview of the key points raised by CPF groups. A more detailed collation of policy suggestions has been sent to the Director of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit, the Chancellor or the Exchequer, the CPF Chairman and the Party Chairman. As usual, we look forward to publishing a formal response to members’ ideas in due course.

Overview of Key Points

Three-out-of-four CPF groups (75%) said the only way to change the focus of debate from Brexit to other concerns that matter to the wider electorate is first to leave the EU in accordance with the result of the 2016 referendum.

Almost three-out-of-five members (58%) disagreed with the suggestion that government should raise taxes or increase borrowing to increase spending on public services.

More than one-in-four groups (29%) would replace VAT with a sales tax, allowing different rates for luxury items. One-in-seven (15%) supported increased taxation on items and activities with clear negative health impacts, e.g. junk food, smoking, alcohol and gambling.

More than two-in-five (45%) called for greater investment in vocational and technical education for 16-21 year-olds, with a focus on high level apprenticeships.

More than two-in-five (41%) called for HS2 to be scrapped and almost one-in-seven (14%) said we should prioritise east-west transport links.

Half of all groups (47%) stressed the need for complete broadband (fibre) coverage. About one-in-six (16%) highlighted the need for wider mobile network coverage.

Other suggestions in the various sections included:

  • Simplify the tax system: Tax returns should be 4-6 pages.
  • Collocate regional operational centres for police, ambulance and fire service to improve interoperability and reduce costs.
  • A local tourist tax on tourist accommodation to help fund services which are disproportionately and heavily used by tourists.
  • A modest Digital tax on all on-line purchases.
  • Higher council tax bands, with penal rates for empty or second homes and non-doms.
  • Implement free ports in Northern Ireland and in industrially depressed areas; also encourage FinTech hubs in the free ports.
  • Extend Enterprise Zones to all areas, with benefits scaled on economic performance of the area or region.
  • Direct airport freight traffic away from London to improve passenger movement, service and safety.
  • High speed broadband should be required as standard everywhere in the country.
  • Ensure the UK has a secure energy supply that is adequate for the projected move to electric vehicles.
  • Maintain food security by protecting fisheries and high quality agricultural land.
  • Provide better access to intellectual property protection for smaller/start-up companies and some means of financing patent defence, possibly some form of tax credit.
  • Lower Corporation Tax for financial institutions with their main head office in the UK.
  • Review the arrangement of powers to regulate the financial sector, if necessary restructuring the Financial Conduct Authority and Bank of England.
  • Maintain a visa scheme that enables ease of movement for business purposes.
  • Prioritise the potential of a Commonwealth trading block.