We need a Green New Deal, not a Brown New Deal

4 January 2009

The Green Party today accused Gordon Brown's 'New Deal' of being 'inconsistent and unambitious.'

Dr Caroline Lucas MEP, leader of the Green Party, commented on Mr Brown's new policy revealed in today's Observer newspaper: 'His proposed investment in electric cars and green energy is unambitious, and 100,000 jobs is nowhere near what a real Green economic package would create.'

The Green Party leader continued, 'Germany is creating 750,000 green-collar jobs over 10 years, many of them in waste-management technology where they are leaving the UK behind. Denmark has created 13,000 jobs in wind energy in the last decade, in a country the size of North West England. The UK has been wasting opportunities for years and the Brown New Deal is going to keep on doing that.'

The Greens have long argued that sustainability cannot be tacked-on to an outmoded and unsustainable kind of economy. Caroline Lucas commented, 'Gordon Brown's archaic view of the economy is getting in the way of clear thinking. Who would put hundreds of millions of pounds into nuclear power, when everyone knows green energy sources create far more jobs per megawatt without the safety risks? The Brown New Deal means continuing to throw public money into projects that have a low job-creation ratio.

'A Green New Deal would fundamentally re-engineer the economy - we'd get value for money and sustainability at the same time.'

The Green MEP explained, 'A Green New Deal would be far richer in terms of job-creation. There are 22 million homes in the UK that need a comprehensive package of energy efficiency. We need this because of climate change, because of peak oil, and because it will create large numbers of jobs. A complete retrofit of Britain's housing to Green standards would create more than half a million jobs. And unlike with Labour's flagship policies like nuclear power, the Green jobs would be created in every community in the country.

Last November the Green Party recently produced a budget for a Green New Deal. This short-term costed proposal offered to create half a million jobs over the next year. It included:

  • A £30bn stimulus package, creating thousands of green-collar jobs in environmental works and improved public transport that will dramatically reduce the carbon emissions of UK buildings
  • The creation of new national investment products, such as local government bonds, to fund this work and provide a safe haven for pensions and savings
  • Keeping interest rates low to encourage investment in the green economy
  • Shifting from VAT to pollution taxes, cutting the standard rate of VAT to 15%, and reducing it to 5% for some items, and abolishing road tax whilst increasing pollution taxes on fuel
  • Closing offshore tax havens to stabilise the financial sector, discourage tax avoidance and to help provide funds for the Green New Deal.

The government's own budget, dubbed by the Greens 'incoherent and unsustainable,' offered instead a misguided policy which would:

  • Stimulate job-creation abroad rather than in the UK
  • Continue to pump mopney into unsustainable and jobs-poor projects like motorway-building
  • Failed to stimulate Britain's green jobs sector, one of the most promising areas for economic development

The Greens also pointed to the need to invest heavily in training for the Green sectors.

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