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Green Party Pledges Swathe of Nationalisations and NHS Surge in Manifesto Dubbed ‘Amateur Hour’ by Tax Expert

The Green Party has unveiled a manifesto that promises to bring water companies, the Big Five retail energy firms, and the rail network into public ownership, positioning the party significantly to the left of Labour – even if they don’t use that word

Green party manifesto launch at Sussex Cricket Ground. Photo: Josiah Mortimer
The Green party manifesto launch at Sussex Cricket Ground on Wednesday. Photo: Josiah Mortimer

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The Green Party of England and Wales has committed to push for nationalising the top five energy companies in the UK alongside a swathe of radical policies, in a manifesto that they say promises “real hope and real change” this election.

At the party’s manifesto launch at Sussex Cricket Ground – sited in outgoing MP Caroline Lucas’ seat of Brighton Pavilion – party leaders on Wednesday said they would push for water companies to be taken into public ownership, as well as most of the biggest retail energy firms, and the rail network (the latter of which is also backed by Labour). The manifesto pitches the party considerably to the left of Sir Keir Starmer’s party.

Carla Denyer, the party’s candidate for Bristol Central – a seat several pollsters predict she could take from Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire, told activists and the press: “We plan to transform our economy. We can’t go on with an economy when most people are working harder and yet getting poor while inequality keeps growing.

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“Our manifesto lays out a bold but simple plan to bring our water companies or railways and the Big Five retail energy companies into public ownership.

“We want [to] end the scandal of rising bills, appalling service and profits going down shareholders’ trousers.”

The party has said it would fund an additional annual expenditure of £8 billion on the health service in the first full year of the next Parliament, “rising to £28 billion in total by 2030”.

Another £20 billion in spending over the next five years is put aside for hospital building and repair, funded by “overhauling our tax system to make it fairer”.

Co-leader Carla Denyer said the plans will be funded by increasing tax on “the very richest, the top 1% of people, requiring them to pay a bit more into the pot”.

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She suggested there was a “race to the bottom on tax”, saying: “They think two pence up here and a penny off there will impress voters and they think that people just cut it off.”

The Green parliamentary candidate continued: “This means even more devastating cuts to public services like the NHS that we rely on every day…People are telling us they want something to be done about the state of our public services about our broken brain. They think there just must be a way to fix it. Voters in this country know that to mend broken Britain, we have to invest in our future. Greens have the courage to say that we will change the tax system to make it fairer and make this investment possible.”

In response to a question from Byline Times, co-leader Ramsay refused to put the “left wing” label on the party but said: “You can only have to look at our policies to see that the Green Party has a progressive policy platform. We’re the ones saying that we will put the investment that’s needed into our public health services. We’re the ones that will stop the water companies continuing to profit from failure when they should be investing in our water infrastructure. And I think those qualities are popular with the general public.

“I think most people don’t think in terms of labels, but in terms of what’s needed to tackle the root causes of the problems in our society…We need that progressive voice in the next parliament to push Labour to be bolder.”

The manifesto also commits the party to making “personal social care free at the point of use”, similar to the NHS, alongside saying a “categorical no to privatisation,” in an apparent dig at Labour shadow health secretary Wes Streeting pledging to use spare capacity in the private sector to shrink waiting lists.


Where the Money Comes From

The vast majority of the extra cash set aside for the NHS will come from increasing National Insurance contributions for workers earning between £50,271 and £125,140. They currently pay a combined income tax and NI rate of 42%, while those earning above £125,140 pay a combined rate of 47%.

The Greens are, however, proposing that earnings over £50,271 should be subject to 48% in tax, and earnings over £125,140 at 53%.

As tax expert Dan Neidle wrote recently for the non-profit Tax Policy Associates think tank: “The Green proposal will affect quite a lot of people. £50,270 is not that far above the average London salary. And, by 2027/28, one in five taxpayers, and one in four teachers will be affected; I expect a majority of households will have someone who earns that figure at some point in their life. To say this is a tax on the ‘richest’ is not particularly accurate.”

Some very wealthy people won’t be affected much, or even at all. The big problem with increasing national insurance is that it only affects wages. The retired don’t pay it. Investors don’t pay it. Landlords don’t pay it. It’s a funny choice of tax rise for a progressive political party. It’s a bit odd, because only three years ago the Greens were proposing abolishing national insurance and rolling it into income tax

Tax expert Dan Neidle on the Green’s tax plans

Speaking to Byline Times, Dan Neidle dubbed the policy “amateur hour”.

Adrian Ramsay defended the policy, saying: “We’re looking to raise funding that will enable us to address the fact that energy and food prices have gotten so high, through things like a nationwide programme to insulate our homes, supporting farmers to produce more of our food locally…If more people are able to access an NHS dentist and be part of the NHS in the way we’ve talked about by putting that investment in, fewer people will be thinking about going private with the costs that are involved in that.

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“So there will be financial benefits…On the National Insurance proposal, the cost of that for somebody on £55,000 a year would be an extra five pounds a week, and people earning under £50,000 would not be affected.

“So we are asking modestly more…We think it’s for big, low middle incomes and modest amounts that’s affordable. And that is going to enable us to invest in the health services in the changes to a green economy that are going to benefit us all.”


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