Last November, during a TV altercation with Labour Leader Ed Miliband over his proposals for a Mansion Tax, former pop star Myleene Klass raged “You may as well just tax me on this glass of water. You can’t just point at things and tax them,” at a bemused and blinking Ed. Today, in a bid to outflank the Labour party on the left, the Greens have promised to do just that.
Included in their manifesto are indeed proposals to introduce new taxes on water, land and air.
Also featured are plans to introduce a tax on plastic bags, a Robin Hood tax on city trades, a wealth tax of 2 percent on the top one percent, and an unhealthy food tax; the reintroduction of the fuel duty escalator which sees fuel tax rise above the rate of inflation year on year; and a hike on income tax at all levels, council tax and VAT on aviation. They also want to increase corporation tax to 30 percent, making the UK one of the least competitive countries for business.
“Taxation is not just a matter of getting in the money for the common good; we can use it to shape behaviour,” the party proudly states.
In total, they expect their mammoth tax grab to rake in £198.6 billion of extra revenue by 2019, increasing government spending by just under a third – provided, of course, that taxpayers have not fled Britain by then.
Despite their unstated ambitions to drive businesses offshore and suck billions out of the economy to fund, amongst other things, a million new government-created jobs, the party expects British GDP to rise by about 8 percent by 2019 under their regime. If so, they calculate that their total spending will be amount to 45.1 percent of GDP, and for the deficit to amount to just one percent of GDP by 2019.
Announcing the party’s manifesto in Brighton today alongside their sole MP, Caroline Lucas, leader Natalie Bennett said: “This is a new kind of politics, the end of politics as usual, the business as usual politics that accepts politics and society being run for the benefit of the few, not the many.”
At the heart of the manifesto was social justice, Bennett said, adding: “No one in this, the world’s sixth richest economy, should fear not being able to put food on the table or not being able to keep a roof over their head. This is a politics that is founded in humanity.”
Their concern for humanity extends to plans to “strengthen Travellers’ rights”, introduce a 35 hour working week for all, and “pursue a policy of defensive defence, which threatens no one”. They also want to honour veterans.
The party is also concerned with justice for animals. Amongst the raft of policies that makes up their 84 page manifesto are pledges for a “complete ban on cages for hens and rabbits,” promises to “end the use of the whip in horse racing and conduct a full review of the sport” as well as a commitment to review dog racing, and, in bad news for foodies, a “ban on the production and sale of foie gras”. Grouse shooting would also be outlawed.
“We don’t want a privatised outsourced state, we want a green and democratic one”, the manifesto insists. “The uncoordinated actions of millions of individuals, with unequal access to wealth and power and urged to maximize their own interests without regard for anyone else’s, will only deepen the crisis.
“We need a party for the real world… a party for the common good.”