The Green Party is set to launch its election manifesto, which will include a call to “take back” the NHS from the private sector
Party leader Natalie Bennett and MP Caroline Lucas are set to unveil their party’s election manifesto today. It will focus on issues such as stopping the privatisation of the NHS and cutting public transport fares, which would be paid for by scrapping new road-building programmes.
The Greens currently have a record number of candidates at 571 and say membership has surged. The increasing popularity of smaller parties does, perhaps, highlight the discontent the public feels towards the major political groups. Given the narrow gap between Labour and the Conservatives in the current opinion polls, it is expected the next government will lead under a coalition, and potentially a multiparty government. Bennett says her party’s manifesto gives a “genuine alternative” to “business-as-usual politics”, and it is becoming apparent that some voters are taken in by that ideology, seeking something different.
The party also said it would not be involved in a “formal coalition” with any major party, and said support on “a case by case basis is a much more effective way for a smaller party to make inroads.”
Lucas said: “We’ve ruled out being a coalition government.
“When you look at the experience of the Liberal Democrats in their coalition with the Tories, it’s not a model that’s been a huge success for them – you end up losing your identity and possibly, your integrity as well.
“We’re a party committed to redistribution, social justice and to crucially recognising that we live on a planet of finite resources, and unless we have that understanding at the heart of all our policies, then we’re not going to be able to live in a safe way into the future.”
The Greens will also push for free nationwide insulation programmes aimed at tackling cold homes, particularly in areas that suffer high fuel poverty. An extra £1.3bn will also be demanded the NHS budget to deal with the costs associated with cold homes.
Lucas said: “We believe if we invest in insulating people’s homes, we can get their fuel bills down on a permanent basis.
“It would also get our climate change emissions down and could create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“And crucially, for every £1 invested in this programme, it’s estimated that £1.27 comes back to the economy in terms of the benefit in jobs and reduction on the NHS bill.”
Lucas said the government had “a woeful record on energy insulation”. In fact, the installation of energy-efficient measures in UK homes has fallen by 80 per cent over the last two years.
Part of the Greens manifesto includes a Citizens’ Income of £72 a week for every adult in Britain. However, the party admitted this would take longer than one parliament to implement.
Bennett, who will launch the manifesto in East London today, is expected to say: “Austerity has failed and we need a peaceful political revolution to get rid of it.
“Our manifesto is an unashamedly bold plan to create a more equal, more democratic society while healing the planet from the effects of an unstable, unsustainable economy.”
The Greens will deliver a fully costed manifesto, which is expected to be analysed and scrutinised in-depth, both by voters and political experts.