Natalie Bennett struggles to explain how the Green Party will pay for "post-Thatcherite" Britain

 
Guy Bentley
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Natalie Bennett struggles again under media pressure (Source: Getty)

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has struggled to explain how the massive tax rises proposed in her party's manifesto would generate enough revenue to fund the Greens' extravagant spending plans.

The Greens want the top tax rate raised to 60p, introduce a wealth tax of 1-2 per cent on people worth £3m, introduce a financial transactions tax and raise £30bn from cracking down on tax avoidance. Under the Greens, the size of the state would balloon to close to 50 per cent of GDP.

Bennett was challenged by Newsnight's Laura Kuenssberg to explain how the Greens could possibly raise £30bn from reducing tax avoidance - a far larger sum than any other party has promised.

Bennett claimed Britain "had bowed to tax dodgers" and HMRC had been "slashed" and reversing these would bring in the cash. When quizzed on whether the wealth tax would raise the money the Greens claimed it would, Bennett pivoted to arguments over inequality.

When confronted with comments from the manifesto's author that the tax was new and they couldn't be certain how much it would raise, Bennett said the wealth tax was just one of a series of measures to raise the revenue they needed.

Kuenssberg asked Bennett what spending £1.5bn on "the earth" meant. Bennett's answer ranged from providing warm homes to tackling transport to covering nature and wellbeing.

Watch the full interview here.

The Greens are standing on a platform of ending austerity and have ruled out propping up a Tory minority government. However, they would be willing to support Labour on a vote-by-vote basis. Commenting on the Green Party’s manifesto, Mark Littlewood, director general at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

When the UK’s annual deficit remains at £90bn, committing to ending austerity is economically illiterate.

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