This is a digest of the Green Party’s manifesto pledges relating to health, care and wellbeing. You can also read the manifesto in full, and also in this easy read version.
Although technically the Green Party is only standing in England and Wales (with separate parties in Scotland and Northern Ireland), as this is its manifesto for the UK general election, the policies below are intended to apply at a UK level unless stated, or clearly relevant only to non-devolved policy areas.
- Increase funding for the NHS by at least £6 billion per year each year, until 2030 (a 4.5% increase on the 2018/2019 NHS Budget), and a further £1 billion a year in nursing higher education, allowing for nursing bursaries to be reinstated. This will aim to bring health service spending in line with northern European averages.
- Roll back privatisation of the NHS, through repealing the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and abolishing the internal market. This aims to reduce private sector involvement.
- Replace private sector involvement in the NHS with community leadership. Allow local authorities to lead a ‘bottom up’ process, and services will be planned and provided without contracts through Health Boards, which could cover more than one
local authority area if there were local support.
- Provide stronger powers to Health and Wellbeing boards to represent the interest of the public in the NHS.
- Reinstate the Health Secretary’s duty to provide services throughout England and create a duty to ensure there are enough health and care staff – including nursing – to meet the needs of the population.
- Focus funding to enable the construction of new community health centres, bringing health services closer to people’s homes. These health centres are intended to pioneer preventative healthcare, helping people live healthier lifestyles so that they are less likely to fall ill.
- Focus funding to enable major improvements to mental health care to truly put it on an equal footing with physical health care, and ensure that everyone who needs it can access evidence-based mental health therapies within 28 days. Ensure that tailored and specific provision is readily available for the particular needs of Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) and Black Minority ethnic (BME) communities, children and adolescents, and older people.
- Focus funding to provide better reproductive health services. Ensure that all forms of birth control are free, to give women a real choice of the birth control that works best for them. Ensure that PrEP – a daily pill which prevents HIV infection – is provided by NHS England without delay.
- Provide an additional £4.5 billion a year to fund councils to provide free social care to people over 65 who need support in their own homes. Explore how this free social care at home could be extended to everyone who needs it, regardless of age.
Welfare and benefits
- Phase in a Universal Basic Income (UBI), an unconditional financial payment to everyone at a level above their subsistence needs.
- Include additional payments above the basic adult rate for some groups of people:
- Pensioners will receive a weekly payment totalling £178.
- Disabled people will receive an additional supplement to their UBI, as will lone parents and lone pensioners.
- People who were reliant on Housing Benefit before UBI was introduced will continue
to receive it, so that they can cover their rent.
- Families with an income of under £50,000 per year will receive an additional supplement of £70 per week for each of their first two children and a further £50 per week for each additional child.
- Families with an income of over £50,000 per year will receive smaller additional supplements per child, with the amount decreasing further the more a family earns.
- Provide all pensioners with a decent income, recognising their contribution to society over their lifetimes. All pensioners will receive £178 a week (£10 higher than the current highest possible state pension payment). This rate will be increased in line with inflation.
- Ensure nobody who takes times off work in order to care for loved ones, or has an irregular employment record, unjustly struggles to access the state pension. Everyone will receive UBI, at either the adult (£89 per week) or pension (£178 per week) rate.
- Continue to pay a full Carers Allowance to carers, on top of the UBI payment. This means that a full-time carer would continue to receive their £3,200 Carers Allowance, plus £4,630 in UBI payments a year.
Government – national and local
- Move away from consumption and Gross Domestic Product as key measures of economic success and towards indicators that measure human and ecological wellbeing, such as work/life balance and quality of life.
- Introduce a Future Generations Act for England, modelled on the current Act for Wales, building the needs of future generations into every government decision. Appoint a Minister for Future Generations to represent young people at the heart of government.
- Scrap the Home Office, and end its decades-long creation of a hostile environment for Black Minority Ethnic (BME) and other minority communities.
- Stop the gagging of our democracy through the creation of better protections and support for whistleblowers in the public and private sector including a public interest defence for breaching the Official Secrets Act.
- Increase central government funding to councils by £10 billion a year. This funding, combined with the local council revenue raising, will enable local government to improve the frontline services they provide and which local people need and want.
- Introduce participatory budgeting, to enable local citizens to decide how to allocate part of the council budget, through identifying, discussing and prioritising public spending projects, and having real power to decide how money is spent.
- Establish a cross-government strategy tasked with tackling ethnic inequalities, ranging from school exclusions through to biased treatment in the criminal justice system, and covering housing, employment and health.
- Guarantee safe and discreet access to public services such as the police, health and education, so that migrants can access these without fear of being subject to immigration enforcement. Scrap health charging for migrants.
- Create a new Ministry for the Interior that will be fully committed to upholding human rights. This Ministry will have responsibility for protecting the fundamental rights of Travellers.
- Support employers to explore the benefits of offering menstruation and menopausal leave to workers.
- Properly fund training to support the delivery of comprehensive, age appropriate Personal Health and Sexual Education (PHSE) lessons in schools covering all aspects of sex and relationships, with a focus on consent.
- End the opt-out of LGBTIQA+ inclusive PHSE classes at school to ensure that every child learns about different types of couples and families that make up UK society.
- Fund schools to provide free eco-friendly sanitary products to pupils.
- Introduce a legal right to independent living for disabled people, overseen by a National Independent Living Support Service. This service will support and empower disabled people who do choose to live independently.
- Fully embed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) into UK law. This will mean that the unacceptable practices of compulsory treatment, chemical and physical restraint, isolation, and seclusion are made illegal in the UK.
- The creation of at least 100,000 new socially rented homes a year through low carbon construction and retrofitting, converting and extending existing buildings.
- Improve the insulation of every home in the UK, making sure they are all warm in winter.
- Ensure that all new and renovated homes meet the highest possible standards and meet social needs.
- Empower local authorities to bring empty homes back into use and create a total of 100,000 new homes for social rent (council homes) a year, built to the Passivhaus or equivalent standard.
- Allocate funding to local authorities for council home creation based on the needs of their area.
- Support councils to better provide housing for disabled people, supporting every council to draw up their own disability housing plans, and work to significantly increase the numbers of homes built to mobility standards over the next five years.
- Ensure all new developments will be located and designed to ensure that residents do not need cars to live a full life, either having safe pedestrian access to local shops and schools, or are within 1km of a local rail, tube or tram station, or 500m of a high frequency bus service.
- Make energy efficiency and elimination fuel poverty a national infrastructure priority.
- Significantly reduce heating bills by improving 1 million existing homes and other buildings a year, so that they reach the highest standard of energy efficiency (over and above the Energy Performance Certificate A rating). Homes lived in by people on low incomes will be the first to receive these improvements.
- Give councils clearer guidance and better training on helping homeless people, including support for the Housing First approach, a widening of the grounds on which councils can offer help to people without a home, and the provision of social services once a person is housed.
- Spending £2.5 billion a year on new cycleways and footpaths, built using sustainable materials, such as woodchips and sawdust.
- Making travelling by public transport cheaper than travelling by car, by reducing the cost of travelling by train and bus.
- Funding local authorities to improve the appearance and facilities of bus stops, bus stations and train stations, to make them more user friendly and convenient for both passengers and transport staff. This includes the provision of more public toilets, and ensuring full accessibility for disabled people.
- Ensure through the planning system that all new housing is served by high quality walking and cycling routes and much improved bus, tram and local rail services. New residents must not be forced into car use.
Food and agriculture
- Establish a Land Commission to investigate the effects concentrated land ownership is having on food and farming systems, housing, local economies, cultures and livelihoods.
- Secure protection of rural residents and communities from exposure to pesticides sprayed on nearby crop fields and prohibit the use of pesticides in the locality of homes, schools and children’s playgrounds.
- Establish a Food and Agriculture Research Council to research sustainable and health-promoting methods of food production and distribution.
- Incentivise changes in food consumption, by promoting the benefits of healthy diets, based on locally and sustainably produced food, and ‘less but better’ meat and dairy consumption, including clear labelling to indicate carbon emissions, high animal welfare and intensive production methods.
- Support the transition to plant-based diets by phasing in a tax on meat and dairy products over the next ten years, to reduce the 5% of the UK’s carbon emissions that come from the methane produced by livestock.
- Legislate for a right to food, giving everyone access to healthy, nutritious, locally grown food, including the creation of new providers to supply this food at an affordable price to schools. Promote children’s access to healthy food and tackle childhood obesity, including by updating the School Food Standards to reflect the latest nutritional guidance and apply to all schools, and renaming ‘Free School Meals’ the ‘School Meals Allowance’ to tackle stigma.
- Enable medical scientists to conduct research on psychoactive drugs to develop new treatments for mental and physical illnesses.
- Invest in education and treat problematic drug use as a health issue, not a crime, building on the successful approaches pioneered in numerous other countries.
- Replace the current system of prohibition with an evidence-based, legalised, regulated system of drug control. The production, import and supply of all drugs will be regulated according to the specific risks that they pose to the individual, to society and to the environment.
- Make heroin available on prescription after a medical assessment by a doctor and provide safe facilities for users who inject drugs, building on the success of drug consumption rooms in other countries which have encouraged more problematic drug users into treatment.
- Regulate access for adults to stimulant and psychedelic drugs based on the evidence around harm reduction through pharmacies, after a safety consultation with a qualified pharmacist, at fixed doses and fixed prices.
- Make cannabis, labelled according to laboratory-tested strength, available to adults from licensed small businesses. Cannabis will be sold subject to minimum unit pricing and plain packaging.
- Allow for licensed Cannabis Social Clubs where adults can collectively cultivate and consume cannabis and allow adults to grow a limited number of cannabis plants at home.
- Prohibit commercial advertising of alcohol (and all other drugs) and introduce minimum unit pricing, which has been shown to reduce harmful drinking in Scotland.
- Set up an independent statutory body, the Advisory Council for Drug Safety, comprised of experts, who will be responsible for monitoring patterns of drug use, advising the government on changes to regulation and sourcing socially and ecologically sustainable supplies of opium.
- Stop the use of primates, cats and dogs in research and the importation of monkeys for use in labs, and work towards an outright ban on all animal testing.
- Advocate for European legalisation to end factory farming, prohibit the routine use of antibiotics for farm animals, and ban the killing of animals for sport across the EU.
- Encourage the use of companion animals in therapy and other treatments, drawing on evidence showing the beneficial impact of contact with animals on human psychology.
- Provide 35 hours a week of free childcare for all, from the age of nine months. This free childcare will include in-work facilities, such as on-site crèches and flexible working opportunities (e.g. jobshares) to help parents who choose to return to work.
- Improve access to high quality care during pregnancy and ensure that all women are entitled to the care of a single midwife through prenatal care, birth and the first month of post-natal care. Baby clinics will be expanded, so that women can get access to health visitors and take their babies for regular checkups at a location and time that is
convenient for them.
- Creating an environment where everyone feels fulfilled in worthwhile employment and pursuing policy which will lead to a shorter working week and better work life balance, freeing up people to spend more time with their loved ones and doing things they love – with no loss of pay. Support employers to explore four day working weeks in their workplace, driving up productivity as well as boosting the wellbeing of staff.
Published: 21st November 2019
Source: The Patients Association
Story URL: https://www.patients-association.org.uk/blog/green-party-manifesto