The Green Party has announced 10 key pieces of legislation to kickstart the green transformation of the country at the launch of its manifesto in south west London today (19 November).
With 500 Green candidates standing in the December general election (47 more than in 2017), the party is ramping up its most ambitious campaign ever and the party’s Co-leaders Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry spoke alongside Deputy Leader Amelia Womack, setting out the Bills Green MPs will push for in the first two years of a new Parliament.
The key Parliamentary Bills proposed in the manifesto include a People’s Vote Bill and Voting Reform Bill, Further Education Bill and a Universal Basic Income Bill.
The centrepiece of the manifesto is the Green New Deal, a plan to transform the economic, political and social system to tackle the climate emergency and create a fair and equal society. “It’s the most ambitious Green New Deal proposed anywhere in the world,” said Bartley.
Last week (13 November), the Greens revealed plans to appoint a Carbon Chancellor in 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor would head up a new Department for the Green New Deal, overseeing the carbon budget to drive a shift in focus from economic growth and gross domestic product (GDP) to environmental and social well-being.
Today’s manifesto launch has unveiled further details of the Green Party’s pledge to invest £100 billion a year for the next decade in climate action.
The party proposes to borrow £91.2 billion a year to pay for capital expenditure, justified by the low cost of government borrowing, with a further £9 billion a year of operational spending being met from tax changes, including the increase of Corporation Tax to 24 per cent.
Remain and transform
In May, the Green Party experienced its best EU election results since 1989, with seven MEPs being elected. Winning 12 per cent of the vote highlighted a huge amount of support for the party’s message of ‘Yes to Europe, No to climate change’.
As part of the recently agreed ‘Unite to Remain’ electoral arrangement with the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru, Green Party candidates will be given a free run in 10 seats across England, including Bristol West and the Isle of Wight, as well as the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales.
Unite to Remain underpins the Greens’ endorsement of a People’s vote – a campaign co-founded by Caroline Lucas to give UK residents an immediate final say on the terms of any Brexit deal, including having ‘Remain’ as an option on the ballot paper.
Detailed in the manifesto as part of its plans to ‘remain and transform,’ the Green Party says it will “guarantee the full rights of EU citizens and their families living in the UK, including the right to automatic settled status.”
‘Our policies will improve everyone’s lives while fighting the climate emergency’
Another key part of the manifesto is the introduction of a Universal Basic Income. On Friday (15 November), the Greens became the first political party to promise a fully costed Universal Basic Income for every resident by 2025, setting out plans to scrap Universal Credit and the benefit sanctions regime, and ensure every adult receives at least £89 per week. The plan proposes additional UBI payments for groups of people who experience barriers to working, including disabled people, single parents and people of pension age.
“A guaranteed minimum income for every UK resident is a further building block of the Green New Deal that will transform all our lives,” commented Sian Berry.
She went on to say: “Nine years of a Conservative government has targeted and demonised people who face unemployment, disability and low incomes as the scapegoats of austerity.
“The switch to Universal Credit and unfair benefit sanctions have caused huge suffering for so many people, and are underpinned by a cruel ideology which is focused on punishment instead of society as a whole helping people when things go wrong.
“The Green Party will take a totally different approach based on the principle of real social security. Our policies will improve everyone’s lives while fighting the climate emergency.”
Under the Greens’ proposed system, someone currently earning the minimum wage of £8.21 an hour and working 37.5 hours a week would see their weekly income increase by 32 per cent.
The full list of Bills the Greens pledge to put forward in the next Parliament are:
Green New Deal Bill – to get the UK on track to reducing climate emissions to net zero by 2030
People’s Vote Bill – to give people a chance to vote on the future of our relationship with the European Union
NHS Reinstatement Bill – to increase funding for the NHS by at least £6 billion per year each year, until 2030, and a further £1 billion a year in nursing higher education
Further Education Bill – to fund tuition for every higher education student and scrap undergraduate tuition fees
Sustainable Economy Bill – to set new binding targets to ensure our economy functions within environmental limits
Future Generations Bill – to require public bodies, including the UK government, to balance the needs of the present with the needs of the future.
Universal Basic Income Bill – to transform our social welfare system with a phased-in unconditional payment to everyone at a level above their subsistence needs.
New Homes Bill – to end the housing crisis by creating the legislative framework to build 100,000 new zero carbon homes for social rent each year.
Renters’ Rights Bill – to transform the lives of renters across the country, making housing more secure and bringing rent levels down, especially in places where they currently far outstrip incomes
Voting Reform Bill – to replace the archaic first past the post voting system with proportional representation, create a fully elected House of Lords, and extend the vote to those aged 16 and 17.
Read the Green Party’s full manifesto on the party’s website.