The Green Party of England and Wales announced plans to invest £100bn a year to tackle climate change.
The party outlined 10 new pieces of legislation as a part of its 2019 manifesto, called If Not Now, When? Twelve highlights are outlined below:
- Spend £100bn a year to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2030. The Conservative and Labour Parties aim to cut emissions by 2050. Either way, this would mean that petrol and diesel vehicles would be replaced, gas heating would be switched out, and people would eat less meat. Renewable energy would produce most of the UK’s power.
- Invest £6bn in the NHS. The money would come from tax policies to increase the NHS budget in England above existing health plans. £1bn-a-year would go toward nursing education.
- Remove all fossil fuels from the economy. A new carbon tax will apply to all pol and gas extraction, which will raise consumer prices for cars and airplanes.
- Plant 700 million trees by 2030. On farms, mostly, to encourage sustainable growing practices and reduce carbon and methane produced by farm animals.
- Build 100,000 zero-carbon homes. This will encompass current empty houses, which will be brought back into use and sold at an affordable living rent.
- Scrap tuition fees. This will apply to undergraduates and graduates who previously paid a £9,000-a-year fee. This only applies to students studying in England.
- Fund a universal basic income of £89 for everyone. This would simplify the current system, replacing existing benefits. It would be paid for by a tax on carbon emissions and other tax changes.
- Improve energy efficiency in millions of homes, with 10 million homes to the top energy rating in 10 years. Every house has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has a measure of how energy-efficient it is. The average rating in the UK is a D, with very few getting an A, which is what the Green Party is hoping for. If they implement this policy, it will cost £24.6bn.
- Ban single-use plastic. Extend the plastic bag tax to plastic water bottles, single-use plastics, and micro-plastics.
- Invest £4.5bn-a-year in social care for people aged 65 and over. Older people who need help performing tasks at home would no longer need to pay for those services. Councils would receive the £4.5bn-a-year to provide support.
- Spend £2.5bn on bike routes, electrify the entire rail network, and scrap HS2. Building more avenues for green public transportation will make cars seem outdated. The Green Party also wants to scrap HS2, the highly controversial (and expensive) railway project that will link London, the West Midlands, Leeds, and Manchester.
- Get rid of first-past-the-post. The current system mandates that the candidate with the most votes in a constituency becomes MP, with no benefits for politicians coming in a close second. In 2017, the Green Party had 500,000 votes but only one MP was elected.
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