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Green Party urges 'fairer society'


Green Party leader Caroline Lucas pledged a 'fairer Britain'

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas pledged a 'fairer Britain'

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas pledged a 'fairer Britain'

The Green Party vowed "fair is worth fighting for" as it launched its General Election manifesto.

Unveiling the party's policies in Brighton, home of their main target seat, party leader Caroline Lucas said: "In our manifesto we've put the economy and the environment foremost at the very heart and our overall aim is to set out how to make Britain a greener and much fairer society."

The party is hoping to capitalise on voter dissatisfaction with the main political parties and win its first parliamentary seat next month.

Lucas, who is standing for the top target seat of Brighton Pavilion, told those assembled at the Hotel Metropole that the two main issues the party would focus on tackling were the climate and economic crisis. "But the good news is that there are ways of tackling both of these things at the same time," Lucas said.

The party plans to reintroduce the fuel duty escalator, to raise fuel duty by 8% per year, and to introduce VAT and fuel duty on aviation, which it said would raise £10 billion by 2013. They also want to levy eco-taxes on non-renewables or pollutants, and tax plastic bags and other unnecessary packaging.

Lucas pledged the Greens would introduce a "living wage" equivalent to 60% of net national average earnings - or £8.10 an hour, compared with the current minimum wage of £5.80. The party also advocates the creation of an extra one million jobs and training places through a £44 billion package investing in renewables, transport, insulation, housing and waste management.

Darren Johnson, candidate for Lewisham Deptford, another of the party's target seats, said protecting public services from privatisation was another priority. They promise to reopen post offices that have been closed down, and support local shops, businesses and markets.

He said the party also envisages an education system where teachers are free to inspire their pupils and not get bogged down in paperwork. They want to reduce class sizes by spending £500 million on more teachers, abolish Sats exams and do away with tuition fees for university students.

On the NHS, the Greens would abolish prescription charges, reintroduce free eye tests and allow people in England and Wales to benefit from the free social care available in Scotland.