The UK has officially slipped into a double dip recession. At the Green Party we are more disappointed than surprised as we have consistently argued against the self-defeating austerity programme. Thanks to government mismanagement, an ever growing number of people live in fuel poverty, unemployment continues to rise and a million houses stand empty.
It doesn't have to be this way. In all this doom and gloom, we need some hope of a radical change in today's broken policies to give us some good news: more money in our wallets, less wastage of resources and higher living standards created by a sustainable economy that pays living wages.
So how do we do this? We need immediate investment in measures to bring the UK's creaking infrastructure up to 21st century standards. These measures will create more business opportunities and help combat unemployment.
We would build more affordable housing, bring 300,000 long-term empty private sector houses back into use and renovate Britain's 37,000 empty council homes to help cut housing waiting lists. These measures will increase the numbers of jobs in the recession-hit construction industry, drive down excessive rents and re-use existing buildings rather than opening green field sites to housing development.
We are committed to investing in public transport to make it a cheaper and more accessible option for all by diverting money away from huge, costly road projects. We want to see investment in renewable energy and home insulation to reduce long-term fuel costs and create warmer as well as cheaper homes. This measure will increase the availability of skilled technical jobs. The introduction of a living wage (a higher level of minimum wage) would help us tackle poverty and ensure that people have enough money to make ends meet. The living wage is making a big difference to the lives of thousands of Londoners since Green Party London Assembly Members first proposed it a few years ago.
David Cameron says you can't borrow your way out of a debt crisis but this government is currently borrowing more than ever. The truth is that cuts to services are making the economic situation worse, particularly because of increased unemployment. What we really need is to invest in our future and ensure we have the infrastructure we need for the 21st century. That will keep people's bills down and mean we have a healthy environment and a more stable economy based more around meeting our everyday needs and with less reliance on the financial sector.