In the last week before the election I want to offer some of the reasons why I think a Green vote is a positive vote for the future…
As the financial crisis of the credit crunch was followed by a recession, the Labour government gave us some money to spend now (in the form of cuts in VAT and bringing forward spending budget for future years) in return for higher taxes in the future as well as likely service cuts.
Stimulating the economy with government action is certainly needed, but it needs to be big, bold, positive actions that will lead to long-term jobs in a stable economy.
The Green Party proposes a £30 billion programme we call the Green New Deal. This would create thousands of jobs in areas such as upgrading public transport, renewable energy and reducing the carbon footprint of buildings.
There are 700,000 empty homes that could be improved and put back into use. We believe that with local government action these should be improved and converted to provide affordable, quality housing to rent. All homes converted or built would meet tight low carbon standards, so not only helping to meet our emissions targets but also to build up local skills in achieving such standards. Our aim would be to invest Â£6 billion a year to convert or build 60,000 extra dwellings annually. We would also work heard to spread housing and so economic activity more evenly across the country.
We would also change the tax system reducing VAT, abolishing road tax whilst creating pollution taxes. We would take strong action to close offshore tax havens and prevent tax avoidance. These changes would help to pay for our proposed investments.
Overall these policies would quickly and positively help to boost the economy, discourage pollution and help to support the new technologies and industries we need in the UK to compete in the post-fossil fuel world.
To read more about the Green New Deal and other policies, visit the Green Party’s website