'While people freeze in their homes, this government is warm and cosy in bed with dirty energy companies who are making profits from the misery of millions.'
The Green Party of England and Wales is meeting for its online Spring conference this weekend, with the party’s co-leaders – Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay – opening the event with their keynote speech today.
The leadership duo’s pre-recorded speech centred around responses to the cost of living crisis. Ramsay condemned the government’s approach, branding it “cruel and dangerous”. He claimed the government’s scheme to give people loans to cover energy price increases, will “burden them with more debt – all in a bid to protect the interests of the fossil fuel industry.”
He went on to argue that the government’s policy “puts the interests of polluting big business ahead of the basic needs of households”, and claimed that household debt to energy companies will increase to £7.2bn as a result. Ramsay added, “while people freeze in their homes, this government is warm and cosy in bed with dirty energy companies who are making profits from the misery of millions.”
Denyer then set out what the Green Party’s short-term approach to the energy crisis would be. She called for a £40 increase in Universal Credit, a non-means tested winter fuel payment of £320 and an emergency grant scheme to deliver insulation in households at risk of fuel poverty. The Greens would fund this through a tax on ‘dirty profits’ – a tax on the profits of the fossil fuel industry.
Denyer said, “It is time the government implements a ‘Dirty Profits Tax’ on the excessive profits from UK oil and gas extraction, and uses this money to provide proper support for every household, and particularly those who need it most. This is a fairer, redistributive measure that the government could take now, in order to help people through this cost of living crisis while helping to tackle the climate emergency at the same time.”
The pair also described the Greens’ longer-term vision for household energy. Ramsay said, “Let’s put people first. Let’s aspire to a future where energy bills are virtually non-existent. Where homes with the latest heat pumps and insulation, so cosy they barely need to be heated, are no longer the exception, but the norm. Where the companies making money from dirty industries are the ones who face soaring costs, not the consumers. Where we’re making real progress in the fight against climate change and we’re doing it with warm homes and stocked cupboards.”
The Green Party’s spring conference will run until Sunday March 5. Left Foot Forward will be covering all the developments throughout the weekend, in collaboration with Bright Green.
Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward
As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.
We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.