The Green manifesto
The Green Party has launched its election manifesto with a pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions in the UK by 2030, and invest £100 billion a year by 2030 as part of a “Green New Deal”.
So, what is the main point of the Greens?
They believe that the climate emergency is a sufficiently big threat to require the sort of response from governments seen during wartime — or post-war reconstructions, such as the Marshall Plan in Europe.
Their central policies are structured around what they are calling a Green New Deal, harking back to the New Deal program of reforms and massive public programmes initiated by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1936 in response to the 1929 Wall St Crash.
They believe government needs to make a similar scale effort over the next 10 years.
What is the Green New Deal?
The party wants to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, which is a huge task.
They plan to do this with wholesale changes to the way we produce energy, build and insulate homes, organise public transport, run industries, farming, food and forestry. This will involve huge investment to implement and they are proposing an extra £94.4 billion a year of capital spending by government to achieve these changes.
Some of the Green New Deal proposals involve extra operational, day-to-day, spending by government on things like massive training programs, and a proposed universal basic income. This would increase government spending by another £141.5 billion every year.
The Greens say: “We appreciate these are large numbers. We are, however, confident in them. We have been deliberately cautious in our estimates.”
What is universal basic income?
This is the promise to phase in a new payment “sufficient to cover an adult’s basic needs” from government to every citizen. This universal basic income “will be an unconditional payment, paid to all UK residents regardless of employment status”. It would replace most existing welfare payments, but additional payments would still be made to some groups like pensioners and families with children, and to cover housing costs.
Any other major policies we should know about?
Lots. The Greens want to shake up central government in Whitehall. They would create a new carbon chancellor and a cabinet role for combatting the climate emergency, abolish the Home Office and create a new ministry for sanctuary. They’d replace the Ministry of Defence with one for security and peace.
They would also massively increase funding from central to local government, by £10 billion a year, and give them lots of extra powers around planning, local taxation, local transport systems and other services.
They also have a lot of policies aimed at improving the quality of life, including ones to “move away from consumption and Gross Domestic Product as key measures of economic success and towards indicators that measure human and ecological wellbeing, such as work/life balance and quality of life”.
What about Brexit?
The Greens are for remaining in the EU, which they see as a vital part of international co-operation needed to combat the climate emergency. They support a fresh referendum, in which they would campaign for remaining in the EU.
But they also want to reform the EU — especially around becoming more active on the climate emergency. This would include reform of the common agricultural policy to promote sustainable and more humane farming methods.
They would give the European Parliament extra powers, and make decision-making more transparent.
What are their chances?
The Green Party has had very variable success in elections. In 2015, they won over a million votes: 3.8% of the total. But in the 2017 election, they — like other, smaller parties —were squeezed by voters backing one of the two big parties. So, the Greens won only half a million votes, or 1.6%.
But they performed much better in the 2019 European Parliament elections, winning 12% of the vote and gaining seven members of the European Parliament.
Currently, the Greens are polling at about 3%; in some places, they are much stronger. Their one MP, Caroline Lucas, has been an MP since 2010 in Brighton.
In nine English constituencies, the Liberal Democrats are standing aside to give the Greens a free run. Both the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru will also stand aside in one Welsh seat, the Vale of Glamorgan.
This briefing is produced by The Day in association with ENGAGE Public Policy.
- Should people vote for a party even if it has no chance of winning?
- Make a brilliant poster for The Green Party, designed to shock people into supporting it.
- The Marshall Plan
- Officially known as the European Recovery Program (ERP), this was an initiative passed in 1948 by USA when it gave $12 billion (£9 bn) to help rebuild Western European economies after WW2.
- To prevent the loss of heat.
- Capital spending
- Spending on factories, buildings, equipment, machinery that allows goods and services to continue to be made into the future.
- Employment status
- Whether you work full-time, part-time, are employed by a company, or self-employed working for yourself. Your employment status can affect your rights and responsibilities as a worker.
- A road in central London occupied by government departments.
- Refuge or shelter from danger.
- Common agricultural policy
- Known as CAP, it is a farming policy to support Europe’s farmers, while making food affordable for the public.
- In politics, clear and easy to understand, avoiding any confusion or deception.