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  1. ITV Report

Green Party: Make upcoming vote a 'climate election', not the 'Brexit election'

The Green Party urged voters to make the upcoming vote a "climate election" rather than focusing on Brexit.

Co-leader Sian Berry told party activists: "Boris Johnson wants to make this the Brexit election - a re-run of the referendum on his terms, on his dodgy turf.

"But this election is about so much more... some things are even bigger than Brexit."

She added: "This must be the climate election because the future won't get another chance."

At the launch of the party's campaign in Bristol, Ms Berry outlined her ambitious plan to invest £100bn a year for the next decade to make the UK carbon neutral by 2030.

Among the other policies included:

  • Remaining in the EU and keeping the freedom of movement
  • Introducing a "Green new deal" to tackle climate change
  • Create "hundreds of thousands" of low-carbon jobs
  • Subsidies to help eco-system
  • Build 100,000 new energy-efficient homes every year for social renting
  • Electrifying rail and increasing investment in public transport

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The party plans to increase corporation tax by five per cent in an attempt to service the debt, will build 100,000 new energy-efficient homes a year and upgrade national transport infrastructure.

Under Theresa May's government, the UK pledged to become net-zero carbon by 2050.

But the Green Party hopes to better that goal with its so-called Green New Deal, which it hopes will also encourage increased investment from the private sector.

Deputy leader Amelia Womack told supporters: "The Green new deal is an idea whose time has come.

"Today, I'm proud to announce the Green Party will invest £100bn a year to combat climate action over the next decade.

"This will be the biggest public investment in decades, and lets be clear, this moment deserves nothing less.

"To win World War II, we invested to protect the future of our country. To set up the NHS, we invested to protect the future of our people. Now, as we prepare for the century ahead, we will invest to protect the future of this planet."

The launch in Bristol West is a key target seat for the Greens, where a local council on Tuesday night approved plans to ban diesel cars from the city centre by 2021.

Ms Berry said: “This could be our last chance to elect a Parliament to keep us below dangerous warming.

“The climate doesn’t care about promises. The environment doesn’t care about pledges. What we need is action.

"And the Green Party has the single most ambitious and comprehensive plan to go carbon neutral by 2030 while delivering social justice across Britain.”

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Some £91.2 billion of the proposed yearly spending will come from borrowing, with the party arguing that the low cost of debt and impending climate crisis justifies the commitment.

The rest of the money will come from its proposed tax changes, with which it also hopes to service the cost of the borrowing.

The UK’s national debt currently sits at £1,790.9 billion, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The spending commitments come after a year of increasing pressure from environmentalists, including the direct action group Extinction Rebellion.