What wasn’t in the budget that the Green Party would have like to have seen……..
– a non-means-tested state pension, set at £170 a week (1)
– a nationwide programme to insulate homes which would create 350 000 training placements over the next year (2)
– an end to the zero-rating of VAT on new dwellings, putting them on a level with conversions and renovations of existing dwellings, raising £5bn in 2010 and £7.5bn by 2013
On the plus side……we welcome Labour’s adoption of a long-standing Green policy idea, the idea of a People’s Bank. The Green Party would provide initial funding of £2.5 billion over the next Parliament to assist communities in setting up such a network.
1) There are roughly 12 million pensioners living in the UK and a further 1 million living abroad. Paying a single rate of £170 per week, and a couples rate of £300 per week, will cost £110bn per year. The basic state pension costs £56bn, and when certain other specific pensioner benefits like Pensions Credits for those of pensionable age are abolished, the total saving will be almost £70bn. For the remaining £40 billion, we would abolish tax relief on pension contributions (£20 billion), and raise a further £19 billion from abolishing employer national insurance contributions and employee national insurance rebates associated with pension schemes. The final £1 billion will come from increased income tax receipts from pensioners.
2) This proposal would involve workforce training for jobs in energy conservation and renewable energy, including grant-funded conversion courses for skilled engineers from other industries. In particular, we would spend £5 billion in the next fiscal year, creating 350 000 training places, offering opportunities to 700 000 unemployed people, in particular the young unemployed.