Councillor David Williams, Leader of the Green Group on Oxfordshire County Council, explains why the public should support the Oxfordshire Unite Against Austerity demonstration in Oxford on Saturday, May 30:
“Oxfordshire Green Party urges the public to demonstrate on Saturday 30th May, against avoidable and unacceptable austerity policies. The demonstration will assemble at 12 noon, on Manzil Way green, Cowley Road, East Oxford to march into town.
“We have already seen existing and planned cuts in the Oxfordshire County Council budget reach £292 million. Cuts planned at national level in the National Health Service will impact on services and employment in Oxfordshire because of the concentration of hospital services in Oxford. Cuts in adult social care, services for the disabled at County level are matched by a serious decline in health services for those with mental health issues. Homelessness in Oxfordshire has been rising steadily in recent years but councils in the County seem very unwilling to apply rent controls to protect the most vulnerable.
“In one of the richest societies in the world, we are seeing austerity pursued at a heavy price to the poorest in our society. Tax revenues from the wealthiest in our society must be raised to address the worsening inequality austerity has created, and to reduce the Government’s deficit.”
Taxation policies of the Green Party were set out in the recent General Election manifesto including: a 2% wealth tax on the richest 1% of the population; a tax on international transactions; increased council tax for the highest income groups and lower council tax for the poorest; abolition of the top threshold on National Insurance; a top rate of tax of 60%; corporation tax rise from 20% to 30%; rises in cigarette and alcohol taxation and Air Passenger Duty.