General election 2017: Party launch plan for ‘caring Britain’

Green Party joint leader Caroline LucasImage copyright
PA

The Green Party has called for bold action on the environment, education, welfare and Brexit as it launched its general election manifesto.

Co-leader Caroline Lucas said its “very distinct” plans for a universal basic income and a shorter working week aimed for a “confident and caring” nation.

It is promising a second vote on the final Brexit deal and to protect the “extraordinary gift” of free movement.

It is also pledging to scrap university tuition fees and nationalise railways.

Launching the party’s “Green Guarantee” alongside co-leader Jonathan Bartley, Ms Lucas said young voters had been “betrayed” by the decision to leave the EU and the public had the right to reconsider whether to withdraw after “reading the small print” of the final deal.

The party will pledge to immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens, protect freedom of movement and give the British public, rather than just Parliament, the final say on any EU deal.

Other key proposals include removing the private sector from the NHS and “reversing the NHS funding gap”, in part paid for by scrapping Britain’s nuclear weapons system.

Ms Lucas denied her party was aping Labour, saying Labour had adopted several Green policies from the 2015 general election.

Image caption

The Greens say they are “committed to distributing wealth and power”

“We are very glad that Jeremy Corbyn has taken some of our policies… but there are some very important things which sadly he is not doing.

“I feel so let down that Labour has not been a rigorous opposition when it comes to Brexit. We want as close as relationship to the EU as possible. We want to be in the single market, we want to stand up for free movement. Labour is not offering that… we are proud to be offering something very distinct.”

Mr Bartley criticised the Conservatives’ plans for a shake-up of social care, saying requiring everyone with assets of more than £100,000 to contribute to the cost of care in the home was a “massive own goal” and a product of years of under-investment in the system.

Earlier he told BBC Breakfast that a second referendum would include the option of remaining in the EU because it was not clear how the negotiations would pan out and people should have the right to change their mind.

“Let’s have the conversation about it,” he said.

On other issues, by calling for a £10 an hour minimum wage by 2020 and a shorter working week, he said his party were putting forward “bold ideas… and asking simple questions about who the economy is for”.

“As a country, we are more wealthier than ever before and have seen more technical advances but people have not seen the benefits,” he said.

Pressed on whether people would be able to work fewer hours on the same pay, he pointed to the £20bn which he said could be raised by reversing corporation tax cuts over the past seven years.


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