The Green Party in England and Wales has criticised the government’s mid-term review (7 January) for failing to acknowledge the coalition’s mistakes after what it describes as "two years of shambolic policymaking" - or to offer a coherent vision for a better future.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “The unsightly spectacle of Cameron and Clegg renewing their political vows for the cameras today can't mask the reality that this is a government dangerously bereft of ideas.
“With its reckless austerity programme having failed miserably to get the economy moving or reduce the deficit, and the harsh consequences of unfair and incoherent cuts to welfare and services being felt in communities across the UK, the only grade possible for this mid-term report is 'fail'.
“Serious measures to address climate change and the environmental crisis remain conspicuous by their absence. The government is ignoring the huge opportunities for job creation and economic security that a nationwide investment in new green infrastructure would create."
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said :“With many pensioners living in poverty, what we need to do is institute a ‘citizen’s pension’ of £164 for single pensioners and £289 for couples, which would immediately lift all pensioners above the government’s poverty line.
“We have sufficient resources, if multinational companies and rich individuals pay their fair share of tax, to ensure all of our older residents have a decent quality of life. We owe it to the people who’ve contributed throughout their lives through paid and unpaid work.”
On the childcare funding proposal, she said: “The cost of childcare is a huge problem for parents, with the cost burden weighing far more heavily in Britain than it does across the rest of Europe.
“An acknowledgement of the problem this presents is welcome; we’re going to have to wait to understand the detail of how this system will work to see if it will fairly help parents without undue paperwork and complications.
“However, there’s cause for concern in proposals to reduce the quality of childcare by reducing caring ratios and loosening quality regulations – children need good quality care for their health and development, and parents need to be confident that their children are being well looked after.”