Election 2015: Green leader Bennett launches campaign
GREEN Party leader Natalie Bennett has committed her party to a “citizen’s income” of £72 paid to all adults, whether they are in work or not.
Pressed on how it would pay for the policy, she said full costings would be released closer to May’s election.
The manifesto pledge comes as the Greens set out their election themes.
The party, which has been recording similar levels of support to the Lib Dems in opinion polls, is fielding its largest ever slate of candidates.
It aims to stand in 90% of parliamentary seats on 7 May.
The Green Party of England and Wales has seen its membership surge to 54,000, as Ms Bennett has switched focus from its traditional environmental policies to talk about inequality and social justice.
Replacing the existing benefits system with a “citizen’s income” paid to everybody in the UK is a longstanding Green policy, but in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she confirmed it would be in the party’s election manifesto.
She said it was not something the party would expect to introduce overnight “or even with the term of the next Parliament”, adding: “It’s something we want to consult on, offer over time.”
She said she wanted to “move away from a system where so many people are living in fear of not being able to put food on the table, not being able to keep a roof over their head”.
Pressed on how the party would pay for the policy, she declined to say how much it would cost but said there would be a “consultative costing” in March.
She is also campaigning for a 1% “wealth tax” on the property, pension pots and other assets such as “holdings in cash or Ferraris” of individuals worth more than £3m.
Launching her party election themes later, Ms Bennett is expected to say: “Something profound is happening in British politics.
“The old way of doing things is falling apart as the politics of hope triumphs over the politics of fear.
“The Green Party wants to create a political system that puts the public first and we believe we have the means to achieve that ambition.
“Our membership numbers have soared, our poll ratings are the best for a generation and we are going to be fighting our biggest, boldest campaign ever.”
The key themes the Greens will focus on during the general election campaign are:
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