The savage cuts of £81 billion imposed by George Osborne in the Coalition's so-called emergency budget in 2010 were designed to make the ordinary people of the UK pay for the sovereign debt crisis which resulted from the financial crisis caused by banks. These are the very same banks that had already been bailed out to the extent of £1.2 trillion by the UK taxpayer. At the time, Osborne and David Cameron cynically claimed that "were all in it together" but they knew that the cuts would fall disproportionately on the low paid, unemployed and disabled, and would hit women particularly hard. The savage cuts imposed by the Coalition are unprecedented in the history of the UK and are driven by ideology, not by necessity, as has been claimed. The government cuts will lead to 700,000 job losses in the public sector, causing further hardship to those already bearing the brunt of the cuts and will probably lead to economic stagnation in the UK for at least a decade.
In our 2010 manifesto the Green Party provided the UK with a radical and positive economic alternative to this savage austerity programme. We planned to halve the deficit in five years without cutting public sector services or jobs and invest £44 billion in creating one million green jobs, and our programme, based on cutting unnecessary government projects like Trident, environmental taxes to cut pollution, and taxing the better off, was fully costed. This approach, if adopted, would have mitigated the worst effects of the financial crisis and created hope for millions in the UK.
The Coalition government have cynically left local councils to implement much of their cuts and councillors are left in a position where they will struggle to support vital local services and protect jobs. Despite this Green Party councillors and candidates in the forthcoming election are determined to do all they can to maintain the local services that people need. In Brighton and Hove, our first Green council is the the most democratic and open in the borough's history and has introduced the living wage for council staff, and is fighting to protect the victims of the cuts. If you want change there is a real alternative to the despair and destruction being wreaked on communities in the UK. On 3 May, vote Green!