Caroline Lucas, Britain’s first Green MP and leader of the Green Party, comments on today’s budget:
“In spite of the Chancellor’s protestations, this budget was neither unavoidable nor fair. Instead it was a massively failed opportunity to shift the economy onto a fairer, greener pathway.
“Devastating public spending cuts, of the sort announced today, are not ‘unavoidable.’ They are not an economic inevitability – they are an ideological choice.
“It’s been demonstrated that any efforts that are needed to address the deficit, once the economy is back to better health, can be paid for through progressive tax reform, so that the poorest are not forced to pay the highest price for the excesses of the bankers.
“Nor was this budget fair. A VAT rise, benefits cuts for all, a public sector freeze, and swingeing cuts in most government budgets of 25%, will all of them hit some of the poorest hardest.
“And any notion that by voting Blue you get Green was nailed today by the stark absence of any serious measures to promote urgently needed environmental measures.”