An Alternative Autumn Statement 2012: Greens reject coalition’s self-defeating economic programme

The Green Party is calling for positive economic policies instead of the Coalitions dogmatic, self-perpetuating and failed cut at all costs approach.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said: We reject this governments self-defeating and contradictory approach of trying to cut its way to growth while providing tax giveaways to large corporations, including environmentally and socially destructive fossil fuel companies.

And we reject its inhuman and inhumane pressure on the poorest in society – households with members in work and those without – with non-pensioner benefits restricted to real-term decreases (below inflation, 1% increases) for the next three years. Thats £3.7bn being squeezed from people whose lives are often already insecure and desperate.

One certainty George Osborne has ensured is that the foodbank industry is going to become a permanent feature in Coalition Britain, the worlds seventh-wealthiest economy.

Britain needs to invest in environmentally-positive, jobs-creating policies, rather than using the UKs historically unremarkable debt to GDP ratio to justify slashing state expenditure and further tax cuts for the wealthiest, Ms Bennett said.

A Green government would immediately invest the £4bn windfall from the 4G phone spectrum auction and the £35 billion quantitative easing surplus to create jobs in low-carbon infrastructure and in sectors such as renewable energy, energy-efficiency, low-carbon finance and manufacturing and in our contracting construction sector[1]. The Green New Deal group has called for green quantitative easing to fund solar PV, insulation and other efficiency schemes that could create 140,000 jobs.

Despite Osbornes best efforts to hold them back, green industries are already providing essential goods and services that we need – from insulation to clean power from wind turbines – having contributed over 9% of UK GDP in 2011 – yet they retain enormous job creation potential.

The Green Party would reboot the tax system to ensure that wealthy individuals and multinational companies pay their fair share, levelling the playing field for small businesses that are currently paying their taxes and struggling to compete against the tax-avoiding business giants.

Ms Bennett said: Our reformed tax system would replace council tax and business rates with a land value tax, a wealth tax[I] to recover some of the gains from those who benefited from the boom years and have surfed unscathed through the bust. Furthermore, we would end tax relief on private pensions, putting the savings into a Citizens Pension that would immediately lift all pensioners out of poverty.

There’d be a financial transaction tax to discourage casino-style financial trading, moves to force transparency in the books of multinational corporations and a genuine, effective crackdown on tax avoidance.

And it is difficult to have faith in the Chancellors announcement of new infrastructure projects, as his government announced a similar scheme in 2010, which has actually delivered a decrease in spending on construction. The government has also delivered just £750m of a £5bn expenditure it promised for public works at last years Autumn Statement.

Ms Bennett added: In recreating the failed PFI schemes of the last Labour government, this government is repeating its predecessors mistakes and announcing headline projects that are unlikely to be delivered. According to the Office for National Statistics, we already have future PFI liabilities of £144bn. Renegotiations that have saved £2.5bn are small beer in comparison.

A Green government would provide genuine government investment in the new schools and transport infrastructure that we need. What we dont need is spending on new roads, an action shown to simply move congestion from one place to another.

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