Budget for peace and sustainability, not for war

Darren Johnson AM, Leader of the Greens in the London Assembly said today, "The fact that the Chancellor has a big pot of money to fund a war but not to fund major investment in the future is an indictment of Labour’s priorities.

It isn’t just about Iraq, it’s militaristic policies in general. In the post-Cold War world, far too much money is being spent on arms to pursue an aggressive foreign policy."

The Greens would:
* Scrap subsidies currently given to arms exports (around £500 million per year).
* Slash defence spending to fund national defences and support to the UN only – not aggressive wars.
* Help create a more secure world by channelling funding into debt cancellation and increasing aid to 0.7% of GDP within 5 years.

A Green Budget
Darren Johnson, who is also principal speaker for the Green Party continued, "Tony Blair has been talking about helping stop climate change. Now we want him to put his money where his mouth is. Because he first froze and then reduced road fuel duty, we’re looking at traffic growth of 7% by 2010 and up to an extra 4 million tonnes of CO2 a year. This must be reversed if the government is to be seen as serious about climate change."

Darren Johnson added "But we would also go further and scrap the Government’s roadbuilding plans. This would free up £30 billion to be used to improve conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, including safe routes to school for every school in the country, and major investment in rural public transport".

The Greens argue that:
– An immediate increase of 6p per litre of fuel, offset by reductions in vehicle excise duty, would actually leave many careful drivers of smaller-engined vehicles better off.
– Increasing road fuel duty progressively to keep the real price of motoring stable over the next decade would cut CO2 emissions, reduce congestion and air pollution, and bring in £16.7 – £30.2 billion during that time to reinvest in rail and expand bus use.

The Greens also want to see an end to UK aviation’s £7 billion annual tax-break and its hidden subsidies of almost £4 billion a year. To begin dealing with this, pending international agreement on aviation fuel tax, the Greens advocate an Air Traffic Congestion Charge. Darren Johnson comments:

"If the charge were set to reclaim one-fifth of an airport’s external costs, its contribution to climate change and other impacts of air and noise pollution and so on, this would raise £100 million a year from Heathrow alone. The revenue should be ring-fenced for sustainable transport, environmental improvements and other quality-of-life enhancements, to help compensate communities for the negative impacts of their local airport".

Increase income tax
Darren Johnson concluded: "The Green Party would also like to see income taxes for high earners increased to raise revenue to spend on improvements in health and education and other public services."



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