30 March 2015

Main points:
* Austerity is a failed neo-Con political project
* We are not ‘all in this together’; Chancellor has once again puts ‘politics before people’
* We need to see a radical departure away from the business-as-usual economics
* Tax breaks for oil and gas industries are ‘eye-watering’
People struggling to get by will find little cheer in the Coalition’s final budget, says the Green Party. Greens call for an immediate end to austerity-led economics and a rebalancing of the economy so that it works for the common good.

The Green Party is unashamed about its ambition to increase both government spending and taxation to help create a fairer, more sustainable society.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s budget announcement of £1.3 billion of tax cuts for North Sea oil and gas production with no new investment in renewables shows how out of touch this government is on climate change.
North Devon Green Party candidate for the General Election, Cllr Ricky Knight says:
“This final Coalition budget offers little hope to the many millions of people across Britain who are struggling to get by. Austerity economics has failed.
“Incomes are still lower than they were in 2010 (1), household debt is up (2) and inequality continues to plague this country. In the world’s sixth-biggest economy, people should not have to queue at food banks or work in insecure jobs that don’t pay enough for people to get by on.
“We need to see a radical departure away from the kind of business-as-usual economics on display in last week’s budget. That means building an economy that works for the common good, an economy that pays people a Living Wage, protects our public services and invests in renewable technologies that cut fuel bills and help combat climate change.
Local Elections’ candidate, Cllr Rosie Haworth-Booth adds:
“This is an electioneering Budget from a Chancellor who puts politics above people.
“That Mr Osborne would have the nerve to suggest ‘we’re all in this together’ is astonishing and shows just how out of touch the Government is with those it’s supposed to serve. He says he’ll tackle tax evasion but he’s done virtually nothing in five years and instead slashed the staff and budget of HMRC. What typical Tory smoke and mirrors.
“No – we are most certainly not all in this together. Food bank use has rocketed. Hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs have been slashed. Zero-hours contacts are rising. Brutal cuts to services and welfare have hit the poor hardest – while the richest have seen their wealth rise.
“And all this while granting another eye-watering tax break, at public expense, to multinational oil and gas companies, just weeks after a cross-party climate pledge. Investment in home-grown renewable technologies, particularly here in the South West, would mean more jobs and greater stability in the long term. The local business case is incredibly compelling: transition to a zero carbon economy is absolutely crucial to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”
Local election candidate Phillip Wearne agrees:
“We believe that austerity is a political project, designed to reinforce the power of financial and corporate elites, and achieve the long-held ambition of those on the right in politics of bringing about the shrinking of the state.
"What stands out in this budget is the huge tax breaks for the fossil fuel dinosaurs, which will drag us back from the cusp of a green energy revolution. This is a hugely wasted economic opportunity to drive the transition to a zero carbon economy. Now is the time to divest from fossil fuels not drive forward further exploration.”
"We know that to have an 80% chance of keeping global warming below 2C -- the internationally-accepted level at which humanity might be able to live with its consequences - we have to keep 80% of today's proven reserves of coal, oil and natural gas in the ground. Extract and burn them and the consequences for all of us are truly terrifying."

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