It seems that the Greens are gaining major traction with young voters. According to a recent YouGov Poll, the party is tied with Labour amongst under 25s, due to their anti-austerity and strong commitments to battling climate change. However, it's becoming more and more clear that the Green's policies, announced earlier this week, would be largely detrimental to young people and students
As a student, I constantly find myself in debates both socially and academically about the Green party as an alternative to the Labour Party. One area that is consistently raised by young Green supporters is that the Green party is the only party radical enough to defend the environment. But Labour too, have something to offer; several innovative environmental policies such as a decarbonisation target, a Green Investment Bank and a promise to put climate change at the heart of foreign policy have been pledged by the Labour Party. Young people have misunderstood how the 'radical' environmental policies set forth by the Greens would have an immediate detrimental impact upon their lifestyle.
Earlier this week, the Green party released their manifesto, which among multiple depictions of a 'utopian' Britain, it also holds a deep contradiction in its commitments to zero or even negative growth paired with the promise of working families and young people being 'better off'. Their manifesto outlines plans to scrap economic growth in favour of a negative growth economy, with the hope that this will induce a decrease in national levels of personal consumption. In doing so the Greens will plunge Britain into a permanent and deliberate recession making the nation materially poorer year on year and crippling social mobility and job prospects for young people.
Furthermore, it is not just the commitment to scraping economic growth that will hit young people in the pockets. Green Party plans to abolish VAT to make way for 'eco tastes' a system of levies based upon the environmental impact of a product, will also hit people hard. These changes would create new resources taxes impacting wood, metal and mineral production and introduce steeper levies on cars. But more importantly, as a result of this Green policy, import taxes on trade between Britain and the rest of the EU will also inevitably be affected, ending the, ending the free trade bloc and locking us out of trade negotiations with the rest of Europe. Whilst locking us out of negotiations with Europe would undoubtedly cause countless problems in employment for young people, the creation of 'eco taxes' would make everyday items, such as imported fruit and packaged goods, unaffordable to the majority of young people.
It is clear that the Green Party have made unattainable promises to young people; abolishing tuition fees and better employment prospects are just the first few of a very long list. The policies right at the heart of their manifesto promise only one thing - inconceivable damage to the future of young people. The Greens relentlessly attack Labour on issues such as social mobility and the future of young people. However, the Labour Party's fully funded commitments to slash tuition fees by 1/3, guaranteed apprenticeships to those who achieve the grades and create a lower tax bracket of 10% to low earners offers a much better deal to young people whilst also committing to battle climate change. Under the greens environmental issues will always take presidence, however, the needs of young people will always be of secondary importance.