Caroline Lucas, the Green Party’s MP for Brighton Pavilion, has said that the time has come for the ‘biggest redistribution in British History’. The UK suffers because wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of the few.
In a statement, Lucas called for a ‘just transition to a more sustainable economy’, to be at the core of the Queen’s speech.
Challenging the Government to be brave and embark upon the biggest programme of redistribution in British history, sharing wealth, handing power to local communities and breaking up the energy cartel, Caroline Lucas said, “My set of proposals would see fossil fuels kept in the ground, lower rents and an economy where success is measured by people’s well-being – not simply economic growth.”
Irrespective of what is in the Queen’s Speech,Lucas plans to use the coming year in Parliament to put forward a number of legislative proposals. She revealed her plans ahead of the Queen’s speech and said that a ‘Renters Bill’ will be her number one priority, inspired by what she describes as a ‘mounting housing crisis’ in Brighton & Hove.
She said, “Rents in Brighton are among the highest in the UK – and people are being forced out of the city in search of an affordable home. This mounting crisis must be addressed, which is why I will be seeking cross-party support for a Renters Bill. Politicians cannot sit on their hands wishing away this growing problem, we urgently need action to cap and lower rents.”
Offering us an alternative Queen’s Speech,she said we want a Queen’s Speech that sets out a legislative programme for the just transition to a more sustainable economy, both financially and ecologically. One that shifts power into the hands of the public, fairly distributes wealth and resources, and asserts the benefits of collective ownership and responsibility.
A Green Infrastructure Bill will guarantee low-carbon development is a central objective for the flagship infrastructure commission. A Bill that sets out how infrastructure will enable us to deliver on our carbon budgets and that empowers local communities to ensure fossil fuels stay in the ground.
The country needs a Resilient Economy Bill that sets out alternative indicators for measuring the success of our economy, based on social and environmental well-being.
A Public Housing Bill that will deliver the thousands of new homes that need to be built between now and 2020 is essential, and that, coupled with a Renters Bill to better protect tenants, will ensure the right to decent affordable housing is enjoyed by everyone.
She says that we need a Public Ownership Bill that builds on, and grows the social value of our public services. A Bill that makes public ownership the default option before any services, national or local, are contracted out to the private sector; gives the public the right to recall private companies running public services poorly; and requires financial and other transparency from private companies running public services.
To provide us with truly democratic representation, an Electoral Reform Bill will replace the outdated first past the post system with a proportional one that makes every vote count.
The Queen’s Speech should contain plans for a review of our outdated welfare model with a view to replacing it with a radical new settlement that recognises social security should be a contract between citizens, giving people an equal share in what society has to offer, alongside responsibility for themselves and one another. This means exploring the option of a universal basic income, addressing the ongoing de-skilling and automation of our economy, and tackling growing wealth inequality, including a fairer tax system.
A Queen’s Speech that transforms the economy into one that benefits the majority, protects our environment and gives everyone a stake in our common future is what we need.
This Government is unlikely to give us anything remotely like the visionary policies Caroline Lucas proposes. Elected on a by-line of stability and security, one can only wonder at their collective state of mind. As they look back over the last year, and view the wreckage and carnage of their legislative program, they hope for something bland and calming, offering a period of respite, especially after the EU Referendum Tory blood on the floor.
The Queen’s Speech as reported by the BBC contains little that offers a radical change and confirms we have a Government on the ropes, hanging on for the bell, to signal the end of round one.
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