In the coming weeks you will notice some changes to this blog - a big change will be announced soon - today I'm taking down an old post about Coalition Cuts - indeed was about to delete when I reread and thought although it is nearly 2 years old and some stuff is out of date, much is still very relevant so here it is....
Below is a Green view on the cuts:
The decision to tackle the deficit through 80% cuts and 20% tax rises (some taxes, such as corporation tax are actually falling) is politically motivated. There is nothing inevitable about the speed and scale of these cuts - the Tories and Lib Dems would have us believe that there is no alternative when there clearly is. The Green Party are presenting a significantly different alternative to the Labour Party who also propose cuts but of a lower magnitude and at a slower rate. See below The Green Alternative.
The new Government argue that the savage cuts will help clear the deficit. But experts have warned these cuts will harm the economy, not help it. Cuts this big will simply increase unemployment, meaning that the government raises less in taxes and will have to spend more on benefits. While we might expect the Conservatives to make such cuts, many people are deeply shocked that the Liberal Democrats are now supporting them. People didn't vote Lib Dem expecting them to cut child benefit, attack public services and increase tuition fees.
We are NOT “all in it together” - the poor, the young, students and older people are being hit hardest - while the bankers still get their bonuses. The deficit was caused by bailing out the banks and the subsequent recession reducing tax revenue, NOT by spending too much on public services.
The cuts are an attack on the country's most vulnerable people - in a country that has the sixth largest economy in the world. Wealthy people will not feel the cuts, it will be the people who are least able to stand up for themselves that will be hit the hardest. So far, the UK banking bailout has cost £1.5 trillion. Or £31,250 for each and every taxpayer in the country. But the banks have already started to report record profits once again. In the UK bonuses in the City will top £7 billion and the richest people in the world expanded their wealth by 22% in 2009.
The Green alternative
Green Party Leader, Caroline Lucas MP, has set out an alternative plan to tackle the deficit. Instead of hitting public services she has shown how we can tackle the deficit by increasing taxes for the very wealthiest, clamping down on the billions lost through tax evasion and tax avoidance and scrapping the Trident nuclear weapons programme.
"For too long, the electorate have been told that they can have European style public services but pay US levels of tax. This lie can no longer be tolerated." Patrick Harvie MSP (Scottish Green Party)The Green Party is different in its policies to tackle the deficit. These include:
- tackle tax evasion and avoidance to raise as much as £50bn per year (initially £10bn is thought possible)
- introduce a 50% higher rate of income tax at £100k (not £150k)
- cut the £130bn annual subsidy to banks (see here)
- raise the capital gains tax rate to the recipient’s highest income tax rate
- reform Council Tax so that bigger houses pay much more and smaller ones less
- introduce VAT and fuel duty on aviation: we are currently subsidising aviation by £7bn per year
- scrap Trident now saving £4bn a year (saving £90bn plus overall)
- tax unearned income at the same rate as earned income raising £5bn per year
- end the roads programme saving £3bn a year
- introduce restorative justice, reform drugs legislation and cut the need for new prisons
- increase the minimum wage to a living wage and save £6bn annually on tax credits
- bankers’ bonuses should be capped (at £25,000) and they should be taxed
- stop financial services and betting paying no VAT which would raise £5.6bn a year by 2013
- “Robin Hood tax” on international bank speculation could bring in further billions
- create a million jobs ion energy efficiency, low carbon public transport and renewable energy
- build our skills and engineering capacity for the economy of tomorrow
- reduce our dependence on oil and gas
- cutting 80% carbon emissions by 2030
“Instead of axing public services we should be addressing the deficit by cracking down on the tax avoidance and evasion that costs the country billions every year. We should be increasing taxes for the very wealthiest, introducing a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions and scrapping Trident. We should also be investing in job-creation, to keep revenue up and benefits payments down. And in terms of local authorities, instead of slashing services we should be looking at cost-effectiveness and fairness and sustainability. This would give us a list of sensible measures including cutting the excessive pay of senior executives, trimming the consultancy bills, spending less on PR, and reducing council fuel bills by making schools, libraries and other public buildings more energy efficient.” Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP