Green Party manifesto 'highlights'
In my constituency a Green Party candidate is standing and, as I knew next to nothing about them, I thought I should have a look at their manifesto.
Having done so I shall summarise some key points from it on here. I hope I am being objective and disinterested in my summary. I am summarising not commenting. I do not intend to commend or condemn the policies. Necessarily my summary is selective and deals with matters out of context. I have focussed particularly on issues of taxation / economics / finance, given the likely readership on here.
The keyword is "fair". The Greens aim to reduce inequality and discrimination.
To tackle inequality they will redistribute the tax burden so that tax impacts proportionately more on the wealthy and less on the poor. In total, taxation will be significantly increased. New taxes will be introduced and some tax rates increased. Taxes will also be used to promote environmentally friendly behaviour.
Also to tackle inequality, National Minimum Wage and State Pension will be increased substantially.
The Greens aim to move to a zero carbon economy and away from the obsession with growth.
To tackle discrimination new laws will be introduced.
Key tax points
- Close the fiscal gap, caused by unacceptably low taxation levels, by 2013
- Taxation to increase from 36% of GDP currently to 45% of GDP by 2013
- Introduce a 'Robin Hood' tax on financial transactions and a permanent tax on bankers' bonuses
- A top income tax rate of 50%
- Abolish the upper limit on National Insurance contributions
- Capital Gains Tax to be charged at income tax rates
- Inheritance Tax rates to be based upon the wealth of the recipient not the donor
- Corporation Tax rates to be increased to 20% and 30%
- Crackdown on tax havens
- Reintroduce the 10% income tax band and set the basic rate at 22%
- Raise the threshold of National Insurance contributions in line with the personal income tax allowance
- Reform Council Tax, increasing the tax charge on more expensive properties
- Capital allowances for companies only allowed for investments in sustainable technology
- Increase taxes on road fuel and aviation fuel
- Increase Landfill Tax and Climate Change Levy
- End VAT zero rating on new houses
- Tax unnecessary packaging, and pesticides and non-organic fertilisers
- Replace vehicle excise duty with a vehicle purchase tax penalising over-sized and over-powered vehicles
- Gradually increase alcohol and tobacco taxes by 50% to match increases in NHS spending
- These measures would bring in an extra £73 Bn in the first year, rising to £112 Bn by 2013.
Other key points
- Decommission the existing Trident fleet (submarines armed with nuclear missiles) and cancel the planned replacement
- Withdraw from Afghanistan, leave NATO, review defence needs and create more 'distance' between UK and US foreign policy
- Put pressure on Israel to end its siege of Gaza
- Reform the UN and remove the structure of permanent members of the Security Council
- Remain in the EU but without adopting the Euro
- Replace the EU Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy
- Increase UK overseas aid to poorer countries
- Invest in public transport rather than road building
- Reduce the 70mph limit to 55mph and the 60mph limit to 40mph
- Phase out coal fuelled and nuclear fuelled power stations
- Introduce proportional representation and lower the voting age to 16
- Reform the House of Lords so that every 5 years half its members were elected for a ten year term
- Introduce state funding for all political parties, abolishing large private and trade union political contributions
- Ensure the BBC is free of government interference
- Oppose the introduction of ID cards.
Further information: Green Party Manifesto.
In the event of a hung Parliament, “The greens would not be in the business of propping up a Conservative Government, what we would be doing it is looking at issues on a case by case basis,” according to a party spokesperson.