Budget was for 'a fantasy economy', claims Green leader

By agency reporter
March 22, 2014

In its official response to the Budget statement, the Green Party of England and Wales says the Chancellor is ignoring the needs of ordinary citizens.

With its focus on tax breaks for the rich, lack of concern over climate change, discriminatory childcare policies and "economically illiterate housing schemes", the budget is not delivering solutions to problems facing us today, says the party.

Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett, commented: "This was not a budget for a resilient economy but for a fantasy economy that exists only in Mr Osborne's head. It does nothing to address the need to transform the British economy for a low-carbon future that ensures everyone has access to a decent quality of life. Instead this budget clings to the dinosaur idea that growth towards a new model of 'Britain 2006' will not lead to even further economic and environmental disaster.

“The budget promotes what can only be dead-end smokestack industries, the export loans are likely to benefit most notably the arms industry, and the offerings on ISAs will further expand our already dreadful levels of inequality.

"The claim that this would be the 'greenest government ever' has long been a sick joke."

The Green Party is calling for an increase to the amount of social housing and commonly owned housing. Finance Spokesperson Dr Molly Scott Cato, explained: “A garden city built in a quarry and growth built on a re-inflated housing bubble are hardly reassuring evidence of the economy based on 'more economic security and economic resilience' that Osborne claims to be his objective.

"While on the issue of finance, we should also tell George that his desperate attempt to re-inflate the housing bubble through extending the life of Help to Buy is storing up exactly the sort of catastrophic financial collapse that put us in this economic mess. It also does nothing for those who are most in need of reasonably priced housing, since it will only support mortgages they cannot afford and encourage house prices to rise even further beyond their reach.”

Mr Osborne has claimed that more people are in work under the coalition, but many of these are low paid, low skilled and subject to zero hours contracts, critics say

Green Party Welfare Spokesperson, Romayne Phoenix, added: “Where we could have decent properly paid jobs for many thousands of experienced workers and those looking for their first paid employment we have unemployment, under employment, exploitation through zero hours contracts and low pay. The cost of living is rising, there is no genuine social security when job seekers can be sanctioned for minor errors.”

Ekklesia is publishing a variety of viewpoints and analyses of the budget, particularly from NGOs, charities, churches and environmental and social justice organisations.

* Ekklesia's 2014 Budget coverage: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/budget2014

* On Twitter, follow the hashtag: #Budget2014


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