Tony Juniper: Not bold enough, not green enough, just not enough

Share
Related Topics

This budget is simply marking time before the election. We should have seen bolder ideas to create a sense of fairness, security and economic stability, but we will have to wait until after the country has gone to the polls. So it is perhaps not surprising that yesterday's announcement was so disappointing.

The Chancellor could have acted unilaterally to introduce a Tobin-style tax on international currency transactions, instead of hiding behind the countries which don't want to do it. Reckless bankers have taken so much out of our economy and it is the poorer people who will feel the most pain in putting it right. Intervention here could have helped to address this gross injustice, at least in part.

There is also not enough evidence that this Government is committed to addressing social inequality. Unlike the other parties, the Greens argue that increases in taxation for the better off are required. Even with growth forecasts downgraded, Labour's plans depend upon wishful thinking about how quickly the economy and tax revenues will recover.

The Government is unwilling to tell us about the cuts and tax rises to come. The Conservatives will cut public spending, but have not put forward a plan that adds up to remotely enough cuts without tax increases to cut the deficit. The Green Party will be open about what we would cut, what we would defend, and about the fact that we need to raise taxation from 36 per cent of GDP in 2009/10 to around 45 per cent in 2013.

The point-scoring over the Chancellor's announcement of tax information exchange with Belize and other countries disguised the fact that he didn't go far enough in clamping down on tax evasion which costs us an estimated £15bn a year. There ought to be a transparent international accounting standard, requiring companies to report on a country-by-country basis so profits can be located and taxed.

Mr Darling could also have been bolder with ideas for getting people back to work. A nationwide programme to insulate homes would create 350,000 training places over the next year. The more people we can get into employment, the greater the revenues available to the state to provide the services people need. I welcome the investment to back low-carbon industries. Historically, the private sector has failed when it comes to investing in green industry and there needs to be more of an incentive from government. But the green investment fund proposed today is far too small.

Pensioners are still left behind: they need a non-means-tested state pension, set at £170 a week. Mr Darling should have been raising billions by cutting Trident, ID cards, and the prison building programme.

The writer is the Green Party's election candidate for Cambridge

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Officer (HMP Brixton Mentoring Project)

£24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...

Construction Solicitor / Partner

Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - Senior Construction Solici...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

DT teachers required for supply roles in Cambridge

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: DT teachers required ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Fifi Geldof (left) with her sister Pixie at an event in 2013  

Like Fifi Geldof, I know how important it is to speak about depression

Rachael Lloyd
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering