Monday, 25 March 2013

The Budget of Failed Opportunities for Kent and Medway

Kent Green Party objects to another Budget of failed opportunities. The Coalition continues to increase inequality, undermine our environmental and undercut efforts by small businesses to increase useful employment. Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party comments:

“The recent Budget will not help Kent and Medway. The Coalition Government has made a secular religion out of austerity and it is not working. Failure to collect taxes on time and declining taxes on the wealthy and corporations, contributes to the rising Public Sector Deficit and this Government’s mad obsession with cutting essential public sector jobs.
“This budget will not close the food banks now operating in every local council area in Kent. It will not stop homelessness increasing here. It does nothing to increase social housing which is the only decent housing many households can afford (1); it does nothing to bring our empty homes, offices, shops and derelict industrial sites into use for housing because Quantative Easing is giving money to the financial sector not to investment in our declining construction industry (2). Estimates of child poverty in Kent stand at over 20% in many of our districts and are predicted to rise (3).
“The Government’s enthusiasm for adding to greenhouse gas emissions continues. Shale Gas exploitation at places like Cowden and Woodnesborough is to be made easier. Air pollution is to be worsened by the Government’s failure to raise fuel duties which would encourage more car users to switch to electric cars which are cleaner and cheaper to run than ones using petrol or diesel(4).”

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1.      There are about 45,000 households on social housing waiting lists in Kent and Medway at present;
2.      Estimates for empty homes in Kent and Medway are about 22,000; there are about 6000 empty industrial buildings. Records of long-term empty shops or empty spaces in industrial estates are not available, but the problem is evident throughout Kent from observation. Natalie Bennett, in the Green Party’s national press release on the Budget commented: “The Bank of England has already e-printed £375 billion for quantitative easing, to the great benefit of the richest 5% in Britain and little impact for the rest of us; what Osborne should have done today was set out a big investment programme in renewable energy generation and energy efficiency at interest rates designed to maximise uptake rather than profits for Green Deal lenders. Treating 1 million of our cold draughty homes each year would create 140,000 jobs, save each household up to £250 in fuel bills, and cut carbon emissions."
3.      SEE: End Child Poverty (coalition of 100 charities) See our previous release at on this subject. Comment from the Green Party national press release on the Budget: A new report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns that a combination tax rises, welfare cuts, and wages freezes will mean that within two years almost 7.1m of the nation’s 13m children will be living "below the breadline". 460,000 children would be pushed below those levels by the increase in VAT and cuts to tax credits, 170,000 by sluggish wage growth and 80,000 by the curbs on public sector pay. Just 20,000 would be raised above the minimum level by the new Universal Credit system, which begins to come into force in October. 90 per cent of families will be worse off in 2015 than in 2010.
4.      The Government is proceeding with further nuclear power stations despite the subsidies required, the lack of safe disposal of nuclear waste and the exodus of companies from British nuclear power proposals due to rising costs and limited returns from such investment. SEE: the Nuclear Free Local Authorities list for details of economic problems associated with this high cost energy technology.

1 comment:

Andrea King said...

Well, needless to say that it’s necessary to create an effective budget. I understand that this budget is a result of a lack of funds but there must be a solution. It’s not right that so many people get the food from food banks and use Same Day Loans Payday to get the money to pay bills. It’s important to stop homelessness and provide a decent quality of living for the citizens. Hopefully, this budget will be reviewed and all the important problems will be solved.