A sustainable approach to growth is needed, say Greens

By agency reporter
January 28, 2013

Investment in sustainable industries is vital in the wake of economic statistics that further underline the stagnation of the UK economy, says the Green Party of England and Wales.

The figures released last week by the Office for National Statistics show that the economy shrank by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2012.

A further contraction in the first quarter of 2013 marks two consecutive quarters of declining output, which now means a ‘triple-dip’ recession is almost inevitable.

Molly Scott Cato, Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at Roehampton University, and the Green Party's economics spokesperson, declared: “The economic statistics released today are clear proof of the narrow focus of current policy-making. The problem is that it’s all about quantity, and not about quality."

“Meanwhile, she added, "the economy stubbornly refuses to grow, with independent commentators routinely down-grading growth prospects in the medium and long term."

“The Conservatives' policies of abandoning the green belt and encouraging destructive industries such as aviation make clear that they would sacrifice everything we most value in pursuit of the pointless chimera of endless economic growth," said Professor Scott Cato.

“The Green Party would rather focus on ‘transitional growth’, meaning that our use of energy and materials can only be increased now if they are invested in infrastructure that will eventually lead to a lessening of demand for them in the future.

“Investment can be justified as 'transitional' if, although requiring the use of more energy in the short-term, in the long run it would ensure greater well-being with the investment of less energy. By this definition the insulation of homes is clearly transitional investment, whereas the installation of a system of recharging points for electric vehicles would be harder to justify and building new airport capacity would be ruled out altogether.

“We need to be much more concerned about how we share out the wealth that we have. The Tory government have shown that as the pie stays static or even shrinks, they will make the most vulnerable pay the cost, while the incomes of the richest continue to expand.

“We long argued that we need to move away from targeting growth as the key indicator of a successful economy. For Greens a richer society would mean one where we spent more time with family and friends while working shorter hours and spending more time on activities that bridge the gap between work and leisure, such as growing our own vegetables or caring for family members," concluded Professor Scott Cato.


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