In this election, the Green Party promises to deliver a government committed to sustainable environmental policies, remaining a part of a reformed EU and a fair democratic system dedicated to tackling inequality in the UK across all its forms. Below is a summary of the 2019 Election Manifesto in its five key areas: environmental policy, Brexit, democracy, quality of life and taxation. A detailed version of the manifesto can be found on the Green Party Website.
Perhaps as you would expect, the Green Party Manifesto opens with a comprehensive overview of proposed environmental policy, designed to tackle both social and economic issues- specifically, the party’s proposal for a Green New Deal. The Deal claims to be a 10-year plan, aiming to tackle the climate crisis according to the timetable established by scientific findings and is split into six core areas: energy, housing, transport, industry, food and incomes. While the Deal itself is long and far-reaching, its key points can be summarised as follows:
– Reduction of carbon emissions to net-zero by 2030.
– Domestic production of renewable energy to meet most of our energy needs.
– Reducing our overall energy demand from buildings and homes.
– Transforming the UK industry, transport and land use.
– £100 billion per year investment alongside additional investment into universal basic income.
– Millions of new jobs in renewable energy, transport, land management and other sectors.
– Provision of the training needed to access these new jobs.
– The creation of at least 100,000 new socially rented homes through low carbon construction and the conversion of pre-existing buildings.
The Deal aims to tackle the climate crisis on a local, community-driven level, so it can be tailored to best suit the available resources and needs of any given area. The aim is to use investment into sustainable forms of energy and infrastructure in order to tackle a wide range of issues beyond the climate alone. It will provide opportunities for work, housing and social infrastructure in some of the most impoverished parts of the UK.
The Green Party are pro-European and are campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU. The manifesto promises a People’s Vote on Brexit, stating ‘nobody voted for less democracy during the 2016 referendum and we continue to believe that more democracy is the way to break the current Brexit deadlock and start to unite our country again’. Furthermore, Green European Policy includes a comprehensive list of proposed EU reforms to make the body more transparent, democratic and environmentally focussed. This includes extending the power of the European Parliament, linking up national Green New Deals to pool resources and a crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion. Furthermore, the Green Party aims to tackle the migrant crisis by enshrining Freedom of Movement as a core principle of the EU, reforming refugee policy and reducing overall migration by correcting the imbalances of equality at its source.
The Green Party has been a long-time advocate for voting reform and this election proves to be no exception. The manifesto promises to replace First Past the Post in both national and local elections with a fair and proportional voting system. Furthermore, the party promises to introduce a fully elected House of Lords and an extension of the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds. As well as reforms to improve accessibility and transparency in politics, the Green Party proposes significant reforms to Central and Local Government. These measures include moving away from GDP as a key measure of economic success, instead focussing on human and ecological wellbeing. The Party will replace the Home Office with a Ministry for Sanctuary to focus on enforcing compassionate migration laws and a Ministry of the Interior to oversee domestic security. The Ministry of Defence will be replaced with a Ministry for Security and Peace. Substantial reforms are proposed to devolve more power into the hands of Local Government.
Quality of Life:
In addition to the reforms set out in the Green New Deal, several other measures to improve the quality of life of citizens are proposed. These include wide-scale reforms to the current benefits system. The Living Wage is to be increased to £12 per hour and extended to cover 16 to 21-year-olds. Legislation will be introduced to ensure no larger than a 10:1 ratio between the highest and lowest paid workers in a company and to require all employers to legally recognise any union chosen by their workforce to represent them. The Green Party will introduce NHS and Education reform. This will mean increased funding, rolling back privatisation, reducing class sizes in schools and replacing OFSTED. Equality of access to education will be improved through reforms to the private school system and scrapping university tuition fees. Finally, the Green Party will introduce widescale environmental protections, reforms to tackle discrimination and will repeal the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 to allow for reformed approaches to tackling drug misuse.
Finally, the inevitable question: how will all these changes be funded? The Green Party Manifesto is committed to a redistributive tax system, targeted at the wealthiest in society. This will mean simplifying income taxes, consolidating Employees National Insurance, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, Dividend Tax, and Income Tax into a single Consolidated Income Tax in an attempt to close tax loopholes and bring an extra £20 billion in taxes back to the economy. Council Taxes will be replaced with a Land Value Tax aiming to capture the real value of land as it increases. This will shift the burden of taxation from ‘Land Users’ (i.e. renters) to Landowners. Corporation Tax will be increased to 24% and the anti-avoidance principle will be enshrined in UK tax law. Alongside this, more support will be granted to small businesses with additional support granted to co-operatives and community interest companies. Large, wasteful expenses will be scrapped including the Trident Nuclear Program, plans for airport expansion across the UK and the HS2 rail line. These funds will be reinvested into existing infrastructure and more environmentally sustainable alternatives.