23 November 2022
Kate Salmon, Green Party speaker for Moordown, was one of the speakers at Dorset People's Assembly's "No More Austerity!" demo in Bournemouth Square on Saturday 19th November.
Kate said: "If I had to come up with four words, to respond to the Autumn Statement, then I'm afraid those four words would be 'too little, too late'.
"Lowering the threshold on the top rate of tax is a step in the right direction, but it's just far too little. Other people have said it already today: we need a proper wealth tax, we need to tax the richest 1%. That could raise us £70 billion a year. Uprating benefits and the minimum wage in April is the right thing to do - but April is too late. People on the lowest incomes are struggling and suffering now. There's a long hard winter ahead with people facing impossible decisions about whether to go hungry or cold.
"And let's not forget that the real living wage is more now than the minimum wage proposed for April. There is a commitment in the Autumn Statement this week for a package of home insulation measures to start in 2025, which is frankly, far too late. The climate crisis and the cost of living crisis are now. It's a no brainer that fixing our leaky buildings stock would have a dramatic impact on both - and not to mention creating new jobs, sustainable jobs. In fact, the time to act was 10 years ago. At that time David Cameron scrapped the existing energy efficiency schemes, dismissing them as 'green crap'. Just think how different things would have been, if we had had for the last 10 years a focus on reducing home energy bills now.
"It feels as though we're expected to be grateful for a little bit more funding for the NHS, and a little bit more funding for schools. But again, it's too little, and it's too late. Over a decade of austerity, of cuts to public services, of real terms pay cuts for public sector workers. And we're left with record hospital waiting lists, ongoing continual strike action, and councils across the country facing bankruptcy.
"Instead of worrying about a fiscal black hole, which economists can't even agree actually exists, Sunak and Hunt should be focusing on the real human need in front of them now.
"Along with everyone else who's spoken today, I call for a General Election Now, to get rid of the Tories. The Green Party would put in place a wealth tax which would fund public services. We would put in place a universal basic income, which would replace our inadequate benefits system and keep people out of the poverty trap. And we would put in place an immediate large-scale investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, addressing the climate crisis, and household bills - and bringing sustainable green jobs."