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At the Spring Conference, the Liberal Democrats suggest a fresh tax on share buybacks

Liberal Democrats propose levy on share buybacks (Via Jos Anderson/Getty Images)

During the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference in York, Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney will reveal plans for a new tax aimed at share buybacks by big companies, following a move by President Joe Biden.

The suggested 4% tax on share buybacks by FTSE 100 firms is expected to bring in about £2 billion each year. This money would go towards public services and green industries.

Share buybacks have been criticized for raising share prices instead of investing money, and many UK companies have been doing a lot of them, especially in sectors that are doing well during the current cost-of-living crisis.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey says it’s important to have fair funding for public services. He points out that the party has suggested taxes on profitable oil and gas companies before.

Party seeks £2 billion annually (Via Harry Stokes/Shutterstock)

The new tax is meant to help lower prices for families and encourage investing and creating jobs, especially in green industries. Olney says the money from share buybacks could be better used for investments that help the country like Biden is doing in the US.

The party hopes this policy will help them win against the Conservatives in places where they usually do well, like in the southwest of England and across the “blue wall.” Sir Ed Davey is hopeful about the party’s chances, saying voters, including some who used to vote Conservative, like what they’re suggesting.

The Lib Dems have been gaining more support in places that used to be held by the Conservatives in recent by-elections, and they want to keep growing in southern England.

But they might face a challenge from the far-right Reform UK party, according to polls. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has decided to wait to have an election until local elections happen, probably in the later part of 2024.

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