Tag Archives: budget

An inspirational day

Peter Allen travelled from Glossop to be part of the Green Bloc in the End Austerity Now rally in London on June 20th.

green

Here are his impressions of the rally.

The much watched YouTube film maker ‘ The Artist Taxi Driver ‘ described last Saturday’s anti austerity protest as ” the best march ever ”

It was hard to disagree if you were there, along with tens of thousands of others, to express opposition to the new government’s claim to have a mandate to cut welfare provision and public services when, in reality, they only won the support of a quarter of the electorate at the recent general election.

The marchers reflected the diversity of modern Britain. It was particularly encouraging to see so many young people taking part, challenging the lie that young people ‘ don’t care about politics’ and giving us all hope for the future.

Green Party members were present in large numbers , and our new placards with the slogan ‘ END AUSTERITY .. IT’S CHEATING US ALL ‘ were prominently displayed. There were also lots of home made placards with creative and imaginative statements. Among my favourites was ‘ Historians Against Going Backwards’ and one which simply said ‘ The wealth of the rich has doubled’ There was also music and dancing and a generally good vibe.

The route of the march took us from the Bank of England to Parliament Square, where the vast crowd was addressed by a range of speakers including Owen Jones and Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party , Martin McGuinness from Sinn Fein , trade union leaders Len McCluskey and Mark Serwotka, actress Julie Hesmondhalgh and singer Charlotte Church. And our own Caroline Lucas of course who hoped for a ‘ progressive alliance’ to oppose the government’s ‘ ideological war on welfare’. It was appropriate that MC for the event was Romayne Pheonix, Co-chair of the People’s Assembly and the Green Party’s Trade Union Liason Officer, symbolising the Green Party’s commitment to both popular protest and trade unionism .

An inspirational day!

In the week before the march, George Osborne claimed that welfare spending is “unsustainable” and has “spiralled out of control”, and on Monday pledged to push forward with 12 billion more of welfare cuts. In the Green Party, we know something about sustainability – and it’s not welfare spending that is out of control, but rather the concentration of wealth in a few hands and the undemocratic influence this gives to those few. Investment in our public services and our people can create a truly sustainable and fair society. Concentration of wealth in the hands of so few is not sustainable if we want to maintain (or regain) a democratic system.

Economist Henry Wallich claimed that “Growth is a substitute for equality of income. So long as there is growth, there is hope and that makes large income differentials tolerable”. We know that infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible, so we need to turn that round and make equality a substitute for growth.
We’ve got a fight on our hands but we can’t afford to lose. As Caroline Lucas said in her speech at the rally:

We’re here to remind the government as well that 76% of people did not vote for them. George Osborne, you have no mandate for these cuts. So stop your ideological war on welfare. End austerity now!”

Alice Mason-Power, Parliamentary Candidate for Derby North comments on the Budget

A few choice quotes from Gideon Osborne’s last Budget speech with thoughts by Alice Mason-Power, Parliamentary Candidate for Derby North

“A record number of people in work.
More women in work than ever before.
And the claimant count rate is at its lowest since 1975.”

Alice Mason PowerWork means something very different to that in 1975 – the number of people employed on zero contracts has increased by over 50,000 or 25% since 2010. Those people out of work are being stigmatised more than ever and are struggling to the point of resorting to food banks to feed their families – not a feature of a strong economy.

“This week we accept the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission that the National Minimum Wage should rise to £6.70 this autumn, on course for a minimum wage that will be over £8 by the end of the decade.”

Alice Mason PowerOn this minimum wage people would still need to claim benefits including housing and council tax benefit. People will still be in the cycle of poverty despite employment, raising the benefit bill yet further because of the failure to pay the Living Wage that both people and the economy need

“I am clear exactly how that £30 billion can be achieved.
£13 billion from government departments.
£12 billion from welfare savings.
£5 billion from tax avoidance, evasion and aggressive tax planning.”

Alice Mason PowerMore money to be reclaimed from those on the lowest incomes than from those with the highest incomes who can afford an advisor to cut their tax. This will affect many, many more people. Where will these welfare savings come from? the disabled? the unemployed? pensioners? Note that child poverty in Derby North stands at 19%, with no prospect of it being reduced.

“In two weeks’ time, we will cut corporation tax to 20%, one of the lowest rates of any major economy in the world.”

Alice Mason PowerThis should be higher – why are we cutting tax for corporations when cutting welfare? It’s obvious, big business is more important than us, the people, and no Mr Osborne, the wealth does not ‘trickle down’, it floods away into tax avoidance schemes and bonuses for the already excessively rich.

Overall – the budget does not address the stark issues this country faces. The rich get the extra help they don’t need. Those who are struggling have not been mentioned. They will have to struggle on. The Chancellor is banking on the hope that many of them won’t vote in the election and turn his Party out.

Also of course no mention of climate change or the rising cost of energy. The real issues once again ignored by this Business as Usual Government.

Alice Mason-Power 18th March 2015

Greens Attack Grey Economics

High Peak Green Party candidate Peter Allen has spoken out against the lack of substance in the recent ‘Chancellors’ TV debate, involving Alistair Darling, George Osbourne and Vince Cable.

“Their performance exposed the lack of real choice being offered by the three establishment parties. In the coming election, the Green Party will highlight the need to defend public services, control the activity of the banks and to increase taxation of the wealthy.”

The Greens found the budget similarly disappointing. Our leader Caroline Lucas, called it,

“a missed opportunity to put fairness and sustainability at the centre of Britain’s recovery plans.”

We were also critical of the lack of commitment to protect spending on social housing or public transport, two important issues that Peter is focussing on in his campaign.

“After 13 years of a Labour Government, inequality has grown, irresponsible bankers have been allowed to wreck the economy, and the services the rest of us rely on are under attack,” says Peter.

Peter and his team have been campaigning across the High Peak, and we are enjoying the official start of the campaign.

“We have a programme that is a practical and realistic plan to move towards a more equal society, protect public services, and fight climate change”

Our manifesto will include a costed commitment to an immediate nationwide programme to insulate homes. This would dramatically reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while creating 350,000 training places within a year for the unemployed. It also includes a costed commitment to a Retirement Pension of £170 pw.