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Green Party manifesto curbs climate ambition

The 2024 Green Party manifesto, titled, ‘Real Hope, Real Change’ released to strong fanfare with its leader, Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsey sharing the spotlight to sell progressive policy vision, supported by a grown-up spending ambition.

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said:

 “Previous Green Party manifestos have felt unachievable, but their 2024 offering curbs their climate and social ambitions to put forward a document that cuts across all political parties. They have also taken a serious view on the retrofit challenge, which should be welcomed.

There are some costings which do not appear correct and some ideas that are contradictory, but they have made some insightful suggestions, which the NFB has previously lobbied for, and therefore should be considered by every political party.”

Alongside wealth taxations, the Green Party manifesto mainly focused on social and climate issues, through a combination of greater funding and strategic policy.

  • Right Homes, Right Place, Right Price Charter which curbs speculative development and ensures new housing has the correct level of infrastructure delivered
  • Reduce environment impact of construction
  • Require local authorities to spread small developments across their areas, where appropriate, rather than building huge new estates
  • All new homes to meet Passivhaus or equivalent
  • £29bn over the next five years to insulate homes to EPC B standard or above, £4bn for other public buildings
  • £9bn over the next five years for heating systems in homes and other buildings
  • £7bn over the next five years to protect against overheating in homes and other buildings
  • A local-authority led, street-by-street or area-based retrofit programme
  • 750,000 new social homes (some as buy backs) over the next parliament, with first buy back option on certain homes, e.g. vacant or low EPC rated rental homes
  • Land Use planning policy and framework enacted locally
  • Local plans will set viability levels for development, with no subsequent viability negotiations
  • New homes to be required to have solar panels and low carbon heating
  • Whole life embodied carbon calculations
  • Higher taxes on demolition waste to encourage reuse
  • New developments must not be car dependent
  • Phase out fossil fuels and introduce a carbon tax on their use
  • Community owned energy sources
  • Retrofitting skills fund which rises to £4bn a year
  • Prompt Payment Code made law and bar late payers from public-procurement contracts
  • SME funding and lending scheme
  • Increase minimum wage to £15/hour
  • Revalue council tax, remove many business rate reliefs, bring in a form or land value tax
  • Stop building of new roads

Rico Wojtulewicz, Head of Policy and Market Insight at the NFB, said:

“The Green Party clearly view SMEs as key to the economy, and have adopted NFB recommendations on small sites before large, land use, late payment, local development orders, and community owned energy. However, when it comes to delivering homes and infrastructure, there are some contradictions.

Their allocation of £55,000 for each new social home might not even cover the planning and infrastructure fees, let alone build costs. They have offered no new homes target, but we can suggest it is in the tens of thousands as Passivhaus at scale is currently impossible and local plans setting viability levels shows total misunderstanding of the planning system and development costs.

And their ‘Right Homes, Right Places, Right Price’ charter is impossible without far greater compulsory purchase powers, which wasn’t mentioned. And its ambition to ensure building control is publicly owned ignored the challenge that private building control exists to ensure we have enough officers to do the job and private companies are accountable to signed off work, unlike the public sector.

Despite some great ideas on progressing better outcomes and stimulating business competition, it is impossible to ignore to anti-developer narrative which will server to harm the best constructors and practitioners the most, rather than tackling the bad.”

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