Caroline Lucas has slammed the Conservative Party for abandoning green commitments, local services and the NHS in favour of short-sighted further budgetary constraints.
She criticised the Government for ‘reverting to type’ and abandoning support for local government, healthcare and environmental measures.
“The retoxification of the Tory party continues at record pace. Any pretence of concern for our environment, local services and the staff in our NHS is being increasingly side-lined as the Government reverts to type and focusses deficit reduction at any cost. The U-turns on police cuts and tax credits are welcome – but poorer working families are still suffering austerity as cuts continue to hit many other Government departments, including at the Home Office which has already cut 17,000 police officers.”
Caroline rallied against the Government’s FAILURE TO COMMIT TO PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT AND COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE:
“Just days before the Paris Climate talks we see Osborne unveil a spending review that fails the answer the biggest challenge of our time. The CSR should have been climate-proofed, with all spending commitments assessed as to whether they help cut carbon emissions – but instead we’ve seen the gutting of both the Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Department for the Environment. The chancellor announced the largest road building programme since the 1970s and new support for nuclear power and fracking, all at a time when we should be redoubling our efforts on public transport and renewables.”
She also criticised plans to scale back the Renewable Heat Incentive:
“Scaling back the Renewable Heat Incentive sends another worrying sign that the Chancellor is setting energy policy according to the whim of the big six energy companies – ignoring the economic, environmental and cost benefits of helping households and businesses generate their own energy locally. We need a faster transition away from our current reliance on gas and towards renewable heat. The Chancellor has failed to recognise the urgency of this – squandering the energy security and employment benefits too.”
Caroline labelled ongoing CUTS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AS CRUEL AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVE:
“Cruel and counterproductive cuts to local government grants will be devastating to communities across Britain. In Brighton we’re facing the threat of children’s centres closing and cutbacks in special educational needs (SEN) provision. By slashing local government spending the Tories are forcing councils to make this kind of short-sighted cut, which will likely lead to long term deprivation. Even if all local councils used their new powers to raise council tax by 2% to pay for social care, that would only raise £2bn, far short of the overall funding gap of £9.5bn by 2019-20 predicted by the Local Government Association.”
She also criticised Osborne’s plans to SCRAP NURSE TRAINING BURSARIES:
“Behind the Government’s headline figures on the NHS lurk dangerous cutbacks. It beggars belief that Osborne plans to scrap nurse training bursaries and replace them with loans. Just as the Government faces strikes by junior doctors they are showing their contempt for NHS staff by plunging nurses into further into debt for their training. The detail of the spending review also reveals a worrying plan by the Government to abdicate central Government’s responsibility for health and social care by passing on funding responsibilities to local Governments – the poorest of whom are likely to suffer most.”