As Clegg goes on defensive over cuts at Lib Dem conference, Greens reiterate the alternative – finding the cash to avoid the cuts and invest in job-creation
As Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg prepared to defend the coalition’s cuts in his keynote speech to the Liverpool conference today, the Green Party reiterated its alternative policy (1) – investment in job-creation funded partly through higher taxes on higher incomes, partly through scrapping projects like Trident, through cracking down on tax evasion and tax avoidance (2), and though a “Robin Hood Tax” on financial transactions (3).
The Greens say they “believe this is a policy package most Lib Dem voters would be likely to prefer to a programme of savage spending cuts.”
And Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP accused the Lib Dem leadership of “selling out on a whole range of issues” – not least the “horrendous, brutal, savage cuts” which she said evidence showed “will hurt the poor ten times harder than the richest.”
“People will be shocked” by Lib Dem leadership’s behaviour, says Lucas
The Green Party leader and Brighton Pavilion MP’s criticisms came in a new video published today by the Green Party (4).
In the film, Caroline Lucas says:
“I think people will be so shocked to see the gap between what the Lib Dems said in their election campaign and what they’re delivering now.”
She makes it clear that she doesn’t criticise Mr Clegg for entering into coalition: “I think coalition government can often be very good, and often it’s the outcome of proportional representation.”
But she asserts that “on a whole range of issues they’ve sold out.” She speaks of Mr Clegg’s compromises over Trident, nuclear power and electoral reform.
In the video, Caroline Lucas says:
“...what I do criticise Nick Clegg for absolutely is the terms of the deal that he has struck with David Cameron, because that has required him to give up so many long-held principles of the Lib Dems. And I think many people who voted Lib Dem are going to be absolutely horrified – are already horrified – to see what they’ve actually voted in.”
1. The Green Party’s 2010 general election manifesto presented a full-costed alternative budget to tackle the deficit while finding £44bn for an investment package intended to rapidly create more than a million jobs and training places. See http://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/resources/Manifesto_web_file.pdf.
2. See Cuts: the callous con trick by Caroline Lucas et al: press release at http://www.carolinelucas.com/News/2010-06-19-callous-cuts-report.html, full report at http://www.financeforthefuture.com/TaxBriefing.pdf.
3. See http://robinhoodtax.org.uk/. The Green Party had long had a policy for a financial transactions tax, and formally signed up to the Robin Hood Tax campaign at its spring conference in February 2010.
4. The video “The truth about the Lib Dems” can be viewed on the Green Party’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvIZFconPIE.