Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay speaking at Green Party conference

Green Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay have delivered their speech to their party’s autumn conference with a call for key public services to be brought into public ownership. The conference speech – likely the last before the next general election – ripped into the failures of privatisation in sectors from water to the health service.

Ramsay told attendees: “Private water companies are dumping sewage into our rivers and seas, while taking on billions in debt to fund dividend payments to shareholders.”

He went on to say: “We’ll have the platform to say what none of the other parties has had the courage to say: that the privatised water companies have failed, that there must be no more shareholder payouts until the water companies stop dumping sewage in our rivers, that the money we pay for our water bills must be spent updating our infrastructure not filling the pockets of shareholders, and that water is run as the public service that it should be, not the profit-making scheme that it’s become – by bringing it back into public hands.”

Ramsay’s comments were met with eruptions of cheers and applause from the audience.

Denyer, meanwhile, highlighted the issues currently facing the NHS. She said: “The NHS and our other public services have been brought to breaking point by 13 years of Conservative cuts – with patients and staff paying the price. Has it ever been so hard to find a dentist? Have we ever had to wait so long to see an NHS consultant? Those that can afford it are forking out for private health care, those who can’t afford it are left behind. And meanwhile, no solutions are being offered.”

She went on to criticise the record and position of both Labour and the Tories on the health service, telling attendees: “The Tories blame medical staff – those frontline workers calling for a long overdue and well-deserved pay rise, and Labour’s promise of ‘reform’ rings hollow given the scale of the crisis – and hints at more privatisation by the back door. We know we can do better than this.”

Finishing her comments on the health service, Denyer called for the NHS to be reinstated as a fully public service – with free dental provision included. She said: “The Green Party believes in an NHS that sits fully in public hands,  free at the point of use for all – including dentistry – and with four Green MPs in Parliament, we’ll never let the other parties forget it.

“We know that claps don’t pay the bills. We believe in decent pay and fair conditions for public sector workers and an NHS that provides the health safety net it was designed to all those years ago.”

In their speech, Ramsay and Denyer also confirmed the party’s target parliamentary constituencies at the next general election. The Greens will be seeking to get four MPs elected, with Brighton Pavilion, Bristol Central, Waveney Valley and North Herefordshire.

Elsewhere in their address, Denyer accused the Labour Party of being “more interested in fossil fuel investors getting their dirty profits” than addressing the climate crisis. She told the conference: “Energy bills in the UK are nearly £2.5bn higher than they would have been if the government hadn’t dismissed climate policy over the last decade. Not content with that, they are now doubling down on their climate vandalism: granting permission for a huge coal mine; failing to get a single bid for vital offshore wind projects; weakening our net zero commitments; and opening up the enormous Rosebank oilfield.

“And Labour are following them every step of the way – willing onlookers to the Conservatives’ climate crimes. Rosebank? ‘The right decision,’ says Gordon Brow. Their reasoning: ‘investor certainty’. Sounds good right? But let us translate: Labour is more interested in fossil fuel investors getting their dirty profits, than in taking meaningful climate action.”

This article is jointly published with Left Foot Forward

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