Budget 2023: A ‘vicious Tory attack on the most vulnerable’, Greens claim
The chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt today laid out the government’s budget. With freezes on fuel duty and tougher sanctions on benefit claimants, the budget has been condemned for its failure to recognise the scale of the environmental crises and for not addressing the cost of living crisis.
Among the strongest critics have been prominent figures in the UK’s Green Parties.
The Scottish Green Party’s finance spokesperson, Ross Greer MSP, said: “Jeremy Hunt has launched yet another vicious Tory attack on the most vulnerable people in the country. His tax reliefs for corporations and pension reforms, designed to benefit those on massive incomes, will cost billions of pounds, money which could otherwise be spent lifting children out of poverty or giving public sector workers a decent pay rise. Instead of also giving some help to the most vulnerable, these giveaways for the rich sit alongside yet another round of increased sanctions for those who rely on DWP benefits.
“Hunt claims that he is tackling poverty, but wages are falling way below the dizzying levels of inflation and millions of families are living in poverty. No wonder so many workers are on strike across the UK today.”
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion accused Hunt of neglecting the environment in his budget. She said: “Despite waxing lyrical about his four Es, Chancellor Hunt utterly failed to mention a fifth E – environment. Just when we needed a solar rooftop revolution, an unblocking and upscaling of renewables, a major street-by-street mass insulation programme, and a commitment to invest in our totally neglected, sewage-filled rivers and seas, we get too slow, too expensive and too dangerous nuclear white elephants. A Budget that fails to protect our environment gravely risks damaging our economy too.”
Similarly, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales Carla Denyer said the budget would not tackle the climate crisis or challenges facing public services. She said: “This is yet another Conservative budget that fails to address the climate emergency or the crisis facing our public services. Proven and effective measures to tackle the climate crisis were glaringly absent. Rather than a nationwide insulation programme, that would not only tackle greenhouse gas emissions but also keep people warm and reduce their energy bills, we get big bucks thrown at technological fixes like carbon capture and storage which isn’t commercially viable and runs the risk of allowing polluters a free pass.”
She continued: “The chancellor delivered his statement as thousands of workers walked out on strike over pay and conditions, quite rightly saying enough is enough. Jeremy Hunt failed to step up to the plate and give public sector workers a pay rise that matches inflation; the pay rise that they deserve.
Ahead of the budget, the Green Party of England and Wales called for the chancellor to introduce a £1 single fare on all bus routes across England with free bus travel for young people, an inflation matching pay rise for public sector workers and tax incentives for businesses to invest in the green economy.
Denyer said: “Only the Green Party offers the economic policies that prioritise health and wellbeing and the protection of our environment over unfettered economic growth. That is why our demands focus on restoring public services – especially our health service – and paying public sector workers properly, offering cheap or free public transport for all and measures to help businesses and communities reap the rewards of a move to a green economy.”
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