21 March 2016
Natalie Bennett, the GP leader and Molly Scott Cato, the GP’s MEP for South-West have responded to the budget and outlined how a Green Party’s own budget would do things differently.
Responding to Chancellor George Osborne’s eighth budget, Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
“The Chancellor’s repeated claim that the Tories have a long-term economic plan that is delivering a stronger economy is looking more absurd by the day.
“Let's not forget that this latest round of savage cuts is partly driven by the fact that that economy is £18bn smaller than the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expected only four months ago.
“Sadly, our faltering economy is not the only driver behind this latest toxic dose of austerity. Osborne, the most ideologically rigid Chancellor this country has ever seen, has proved time and again that he is hell-bent on ignoring the needs of the majority in our society, and the urgency of climate change, so as to deliver a greater share of our wealth to the richest and vested interests like the fossil fuel industries.
“The sweeping cuts to disability benefits, that could see 500,000 people lose up to £150 a week, are particularly troubling. Far too many times we have seen this government make the poor and vulnerable pay for the greed and fraud of the bankers.”
Molly Scott Cato, the Green Party's MEP for the South-West and Finance Spokesperson, said:
“These cuts are avoidable. The Green Party would cancel two of the costliest white elephants in British history – the grotesquely expensive HS2 and the Hinkley Point nuclear power station – thereby freeing up resources to tackle inequality, to build a fairer economy.
“Unlike Osborne, a Green Chancellor would also take real steps to end profit-shifting scams that facilitate grand scale tax avoidance. Only when the government takes genuine measures to end corporate tax avoidance will big business begin to contribute properly to the public purse.
"A Green Chancellor would be bolder on fuel duty – while oil prices remain low – using a 10p/litre increase to ring-fence up to £5bn a year to be used to reverse devastating cuts to bus services, particularly in rural areas, and to invest in sustainable transport solutions. Finally we would follow the example of the Finnish government and commit to funding a full investigation of the benefits and feasibility of replacing our outdated welfare system with a Basic Income. There is now growing consensus, across the political spectrum, that only Basic Income has the potential to solve the intractable problems associated with our outdated social security system and an increasingly precarious labour market."