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Friday, 18 May, 2001, 12:27 GMT
Greens: Scrap nuclear energy
The Green Party in England and Wales unveiled its election proposals on Friday with an emphasis on the environment and social justice.
At the heart of the Greens' manifesto is a pledge to raise income tax for higher earners and to make a huge investment in non-nuclear renewable fuels.
The party, which has yet to win seats in the Westminster parliament, also advocates the renationalisation of the railways and an increase in tax on fuel.
The Greens plan to scrap car tax, nuclear power and ban factory farming.
Dr Mike Woodin, a principal speaker for the party, and author of the manifesto entitled Reach for the Future, said the Greens were promising a "just" economic future.
"The Green Party offers a complete reform of taxation and benefits for wealth redistribution, backed by comprehensive policies for sustainable job-creation and economic self-reliance," he said.
The Greens have made progress in recent years, securing council, Greater London Authority (GLA) and European parliamentary seats.
Darren Johnson, leader of the Green group on the GLA, outlined his party's stance on globalisation offering "ecological and social justice rather than business at any price, and localisation rather than globalisation".
The Greens' hope to consolidate support in their urban areas such as Oxford, Stroud, Kirklees, Lancaster, Manchester and Brighton.
Fighting for seats
They are fighting 140 seats in England and Wales and four in Scotland.
Mr Woodin said winning 5% of the vote in seats and saving deposits would be a "benchmark of success".
But a good campaign in the Westminster elections could yield a greater share of the vote at local and European elections.
Ultimately that could provide the necessary momentum towards establishing a presence at Westminster, Mr Woodin suggested.
He acknowledged that policies such as the party's renationlisation proposals for Railtrack, were "unattractive to people on the right" who might otherwise be drawn to the Greens because of their pledge to promote organic farming and ban GM food.
But he insisted: "You cannot sustain an ecologically just society without a socially just society because you need everyone to feel they are part of that society.
"We believe we can lead people to this agenda in ways that might take them by surprise."
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