The Greens began their conference with a call for wealth taxes and “dirty profits” to finance the transition to renewable energy, and a condemnation of Labour’s plans, revealed last week, as woefully insufficient.
At the meeting in Harrogate, days after a Labor conference based largely on clean energy initiatives, the Green Party in England and Wales (Scottish Greens are separate) repeatedly emphasized political differences not only over renewable energy but also in areas such as support for strikers and the public. property.
Party co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay promised in a joint speech that they would introduce an emergency tax package to fund renewable energy and a plan for mass domestic insulation.
The pair were elected on a promise to focus less on ties to activists like Extinction Rebellion and more on pushing for greater electoral success, overseeing significant gains in local elections in May.
Billed as “the country’s next green MPs” (both are in target seats, Denyer in Bristol and Ramsay in Suffolk), they also condemned the impact of the Liz Truss government, calling it “nothing short of dangerous”.
His tax scheme, Denyer said, would target the richest 1% of households based on wealth rather than income, while the dirty profits tax would target the biggest polluters.
In addition to an insulation and green energy program, the money would be used to freeze energy prices at the level they were last October and to take the Big Five energy retailers into public ownership, along with major utility companies. public services.
“The Green Party wants to see these crucial services – power, water, transportation – back in public hands where they belong, where decisions are made for the good of you and your family, for the people, not to line the pockets of shareholders.” . Denyer said.
“With these policies and our central aim of transforming society for the benefit of all, it is no surprise that former Labor voters find a home with us.”
The Labor conference was held under the slogan ‘a fairer, greener future’, drawn openly from the Greens’ local election campaign this May, and which for its conference, the Green Party adapted to ‘a fairer country and greener.
In addition to the co-leaders, other Greens derided Labor for what was described as a sudden, if unconvincing, shift to green ground.
“It’s interesting to see that Labor is dedicated to recycling – our slogans,” the party’s chief executive, Mary Clegg, told delegates. “That won’t make them green.”
In another direct message to Keir Starmer’s party, Green delegates will march from the conference center on Saturday to join a picket line by striking rail workers from the RMT and Aslef unions.
In his sections of the speech, Ramsay attacked the Truss government for resuming fracking and other measures to roll back ecological protections. “It is no exaggeration to say that our natural environment is under direct threat from our own government,” he said.
Attacking the calamitous mini-budget a week ago, which cut taxes predominantly for the wealthiest Britons and sparked a crisis with the pound and government debt, Ramsay said this was happening in the context of many workers unable to pay their bills. or even eat properly.
“The rich are getting richer and everyone else is getting poorer and more anxious, and the new prime minister is, as we suspected, doing her best to maintain that status quo,” he said.
“She has doubled down on conservatives’ lack of compassion and awareness for people’s real life concerns as the cost of living crisis is allowed to continue and accelerate. This government is nothing short of dangerous.” .