Colin Hines, co-founder of Localise West Midlands, sends news of a report advancing a much-needed debate about how to move the UK out of the counterproductive politics of austerity and into the age of the Green New Deal.
“A Green New Deal could be implemented now if the political will existed. It calls initially for a £50 billion a year investment programme to boost economic activity, in a way which provides jobs on a living wage in every community in the UK, while reducing our ecological impact”.
The latest Green New Deal Group report published on September 10th proposes funding through the following measures:
- tackling tax evasion and avoidance;
- a programme of Green Quantitative Easing (QE), where the Bank of England ‘creates’ tens of billions of pounds to be used in a targeted fashion to fund a Green New Deal, generating jobs and economic activity that also transform the economy for the future. This is very different from any previous round of QE;
- controls to ensure that banks that were bailed out by the taxpayer also invest in such a programme at low, sustainable rates of interest;
- encouragement for pension funds and other institutional investors to invest in the Green New Deal;
- buying out the private finance initiative (PFI) debt using Green QE and redirecting some of the otherwise huge repayments into funding green infrastructure.
This real Green New Deal would create employment, generating wages, salaries, profits and tax revenues – from both the public and private sectors. Tax revenues could then be used eventually to finance the economic deficit and pay down the national debt.
More than that, insulating every home and building in the UK, transforming our transport system for a low carbon future and ensuring maximum efficiency in the use and reuse of raw materials would create jobs across the country.
Investment in renewable energy could be targeted so that it would help to rebalance the economy away from London, while also providing reliable sources of clean energy and enabling the UK to show global leadership on climate change.
Larry Elliott of the Guardian ends his article by addressing the first reaction of many:
“In one sense, the timing could hardly have been worse for the new GND report. The economy is growing again. Memories are short. But ask the following questions. Do you think a recovery that currently requires households to get deeper into debt is for real? If it isn’t, how long before the age-old problems of the UK economy reassert themselves? Are we any closer to grappling with the triple crunch than we were five years ago? If the solution is not a GND then what is it?”
An article on the subject by the economics editor of the Guardian may be read here.