Greens promise ‘most globally ambitious’ deal to tackle climate emergency
The Green Party has said it will invest around £100 billion a year in tackling climate change, including legislation for a “green new deal” intended to set Britain on track to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.
The party – which is strongly pro-Remain – is also promising a People’s Vote bill for a fresh referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU.
Speaking on Tuesday at the official launch of the party manifesto at the London Wetlands Centre, co-leader Jonathan Bartley promised that their green new deal would be the most ambitious in the world.
Mr Bartley said that the issue of climate change had been overshadowed by financial crises, but those responsible had been “let off the hook”.
“World leaders rushed to help a failing economic model. We returned to business as usual. Then we turbo-charged business as usual,” he said.
“Back then our economy itself warned us that things had to change. Now our very planet is ringing the alarm.”
“Hitting snooze for another 15 years simply isn’t an option. This is a different magnitude to the financial crash.
“You can’t double down on business as usual, pray to the markets and expect the climate emergency to magically go into reverse.”
Under the party’s plans, it would raise £91 billion a year for the next decade for capital expenditure on tackling climate change.
“This is the most ambitious green new deal proposed anywhere in the world. While the other parties are trying to catch up, we’re still racing ahead, reaching new horizons,” Mr Bartley said.
A further £9 billion a year in operational spending would be funded through raising taxes, including corporation tax which would rise to 24%.
The party argues that borrowing on such a scale is justified partly due to the looming climate crisis.
Mr Bartley was joined by co-leader Sian Berry and deputy leader Amelia Womack.
On Brexit, Ms Womack said that voting Green was the strongest way to ensure that Britain was kept in Europe.
“We are offering the only way forward from the wreckage of the 2016 referendum. We are not going to watch while story extremists drive our country off a cliff,” she said.
“Greens are different. We will give you a people’s vote, your final say on Brexit.”
The Green Party is strongly pro-Remain and would push forward a People’s Vote bill for a fresh referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU.
Ms Berry said that each elected Green MP would have 10 bills ready to put forward to ensure that the next parliament “hit the ground running”.
“The future will not give us another chance to get these next two years right,” she said.
The focus of the bills would include the green new deal, a People’s Vote, NHS reinstatement, higher education, a more sustainable economy and a future generations bill.
The party has said it would increase NHS funding by at least £6 billion a year, scrap university tuition fees and introduce a universal basic income with a “phased-in unconditional payment to everyone at a level above their subsistence needs”.
Ms Berry also pledged that 100,000 new council houses would be built as part of a renters’ rights bill, and said that a voting reform bill would also “give us a real democracy at last”.
The Greens would also scrap the first-past-the-post voting system and replace it with proportional representation, create a fully elected House of Lords and extend voting rights to 16 and 17 year-olds.
“This is the last election to take the first step down the right path and that is what we must do. Vote Green, if not now, when?” said Ms Berry.