Green party focuses on social justice
By Channel 4 News
Updated on 30 April 2010
After putting the planet first for 20 years, the Green party is now focusing on social justice and inequality. Jon Snow spoke to Green party leader Caroline Lucas.
Jon Snow began by asking the Green party leader, Caroline Lucas, if the party's environmental concerns were being compromised amid plans to overhaul the economic system.
She replied that the two things were inter-linked. She said it was clear we could not continue growing our economy in the way we are today, on a planet with finite resources.
"That means that redistribution is going to be even more important. So that's why we're saying that social justice, fairness, is just as important to us as environmental protection."
Ms Lucas told Jon Snow that at the heart of the Green party manifesto was "a political transformation of our economic system" which would eventually result in 87 per cent of people being better off.
She denied that the Green party's plans constituted "an old Labour 'soak the rich' job", although she conceded that they involved people on higher incomes paying more into the system.
On the subject of reform of financial institutions, she said her party was in favour of the "Robin Hood tax" on financial transactions.
"Britain is one of the most unequal societies in the whole of Europe," Ms Lucas asserted. It was a situation "where the top 10 per cent have 100 times the wealth of the bottom 10 per cent".
What was more, more unequal societies have worse outcomes on health, violence, crime, for everybody in that society.
On the question of dealing with the UK's deficit, Ms Lucas said the Green party thought it was important to pay it off – "but we also think it's important not to knock a very fragile economy back into a double-dip recession".
The Green party would aim to follow the Labour party's timeline for paying off the deficit, she said. The country should now be investing in jobs rather than be making big public spending cuts.