Caroline Lucas on NetMums

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas was on NetMums on Mother’s Day. You can read the full forum discussion here and I’ve listed a couple of interesting answers below:

Posted by Emma H(1228)

Sound and decent policies on income tax and NI, but how will they be financed – and is there an appetite among the electorate for tax raises or service cuts to finance the additional help for lower end earners.

Hopefully the answer is yes, if you succeed in the ‘Fair is worth fighting for’ theme.

Caroline’s answer:

Hi Emma

Thanks for your comments! In terms of financing our commitments, we have a number of proposals. First, to scrap existing projects which we don’t support: cancelling the replacement of Trident nuclear weapons would save around £78 billion over its thirty year lifetime. We’d also scrap plans for new aircraft carriers, ID cards, more road building etc.

But we’re also clear that we need more progressive taxation – in other words, more taxation for those who can afford it. So we would introduce the new higher rate of income tax at 50% for incomes above £100,000, and abolish the upper limit for National Insurance contributions. We’d also increase the main rate of corporation tax from 28% to 30%, and raise Capital Gains Tax from 18 to 22% to match the basic tax rate. We’d reform Council Tax, so that people in more expensive homes would pay more, and would support a tax on bankers’ bonuses. We’re also supporters of the so-called Robin Hood tax, on financial transactions.

Essentially we want to see a much more equal society, and research suggests a majority of people in the UK support that. It’s not right that the top 10% in this country today have 100 times more wealth than the bottom 10%, or that – proportionately, when indirect taxation is taken into account as well – those on lower incomes pay more on tax, as a percentage of their income, than those on higher incomes.

Posted by Chelle

I was curious at to how The Green Party would aim to improve the public transport system??I do drive a car and in all honesty,as much as I would like to use buses more,its just not feasable.We have an incredibly unreliable bus network where I live.We have gone from a bus every 15 mins to our town centre to IF they can be bothered to turn up a bus every half an hour.It makes it near on impossible to use the bus if I have a definate commitment time wise.Also it is getting stupidly expensive.The last time I caught a bus it was heading up to near on £5 return!.If we are to be encouraged to rely on public transport more,we need a system that we can guarantee is going to be efficiant with regards to punctuality and is affordable.At the moment it is probably cheaper for me to use my car!

Caroline’s answer:

Hi Chelle and Natalie,

I hope you won’t mind me trying to reply to you both in one post – but my hour here is almost at an end (well, actually, I’m well over an hour, so better hurry up!)

Making it easier for everyone to make green choices is high on my agenda – and I agree that it is vital this applies to people from all backgrounds. An insulated home and good quality locally grown organic food, for example, should not just be available to those that can afford to pay a premium. That’s why so many of our policies are designed with the idea of fairness in mind – be it providing grants for loft insulations or really challenging the grip that supermarkets have on our food production system and the extent to which they distort pricing and eg put small growers out of business.

On transport especially, I want to see a massive investment in infrastructure coupled with pricing policies that help eg the elderly or those on lower incomes. I believe that privatising public transport was a huge mistake and means that providers only run services that they can make a healthy profit on – rather than to meet genuine community need. So, the Green Party would reverse this and prioritise reliable, affordable and accessible transport that really is for the public.

I know people choose cars because all too often that is cheaper or more convenient, so what I want to do is make the opposite true – for public transport to be the easy option and to get as many people as possible out of their cars. That doesn’t mean I am anti anyone using a car – I just don’t like the way they have come to dominate our lives and I know lots of cars drivers who’d like to spend much less time in traffic jams!

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