15 April 2010 | Nick Martindale
The Green Party pledged to embark on a spending spree financed by a reform of the tax system and higher public borrowing at the launch of its manifesto.
The minority party claims it would save £20 billion in 2010, including £8 billion from the defence budget – part of which would derive from scrapping the Trident nuclear weapons system – and an initial £1 billion on road-building, rising to £3 billion in 2013.
Along with revenues from higher taxes, the money saved would be used to fund a spending programme that would involve a £4 billion investment in public transport and a £5 billion renewables and insulation project.
Other fringe parties have also unveiled their proposals for power. The UK Independence Party pledged to increase spending on defence by an additional 40 per cent every year, expanding the army by 25 per cent and doubling the size of Territorial Army, while Plaid Cymru said it would campaign for a change in public procurement legislation so local authorities could favour materials from recycled and local sources.
The Scottish National Party has yet to launch its manifesto but is expected to do so next week.