22 June 2010
Commenting on today's "budget for pointless austerity," the UK's first Green MP Caroline Lucas said:
"In spite of the Chancellor's protestations, this budget was neither unavoidable nor fair. Instead it was a massively failed opportunity to shift the economy onto a fairer, greener pathway.
"Devastating public spending cuts of the sort announced today are not ‘unavoidable.' They are not an economic inevitability - they are an ideological choice.
"Nor was this budget fair. A VAT rise, benefits cuts for all, a public sector freeze, and swingeing cuts in most government budgets of 25%, will all of them hit some of the poorest hardest."
Cuts are "unnecessary and destructive"
This week Caroline Lucas published a new report (1, 2) arguing that the cuts are both unnecessary and destructive - and saying that by cracking down on tax evasion and avoidance the government could raise tens of billions of pounds a year.
"It's been demonstrated that any efforts that are needed to address the deficit, once the economy is back to better health, can be paid for through progressive tax reform, so that the poorest are not forced to pay the highest price for the excesses of the bankers."
The Green Party leader and Brighton Pavilion MP continued: "We need a Green New Deal - a major investment package to rapidly modernise the UK economy for a low-carbon future, while seeing off the recession through large-scale job-creation. That's the kind of policy the new government should have put centre-stage."
Vote Blue, get Blue
Caroline Lucas concluded: "Any notion that by voting Blue you get Green was nailed today by the stark absence of any serious measures to promote urgently needed environmental measures."
2. The full report - called Cuts: the callous con trick - can be read at http://www.financeforthefuture.com/TaxBriefing.pdf.
3. A briefing on the main points of the budget can be seen at http://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/reports/Budget_response_June_2010.pdf.