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Greens condemn outsourcing - with 'very modest' efficiency savings



Manifesto promises £10bn 'uplift' in local authority budgets and free postal address file

The Green Party would end the outsourcing of government services while implementing "very modest" savings in public sector efficiency, according to the party's election manifesto published today. It also pledges an "uplift" in local authority budgets and the recruitment of more civil servants at HM Revenue and Customs.

Successive governments' policies of outsourcing government to the unaccountable private sector "has brought politics and politicians into disrepute", it says. The Greens would "set creative government free" by not recognising what it calls" the dogma that government cannot lead or innovate and has no entrepreneurial drive".

Specific policies includie:

  • halting the Universal Credit programme;
  • hiring more tax collectors. "We would steadily increase staff in HMRC by 15,000 per annum over the parliament, in particular reopening local offices," the manifesto says;
  • a £10bn a year uplift in local authority budgets "to allow local authorities to restore essential local services, creating more than 200,000 local jobs."

However, the manifesto says a Green government would "recognise that efficiency in public services does matter, provided it is not at the cost of poor service or exploitation of staff." Hence the "very modest" target of 0.3% over half the government's services.

Among the party's recommendations on constitutional issues is a referendum on local government decisions if called for by 20% of the local electorate. Councils would also receive powers to levy local taxes, for example "local tourist taxes, empty homes levies, supermarket levies or workplace parking levies."

On information rights, the party says it would replace the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and support the EU's proposals to strengthen data protection laws.

It would also: "Oppose the privatisation of data held by the government that should be open to all, such as the Postcode Address File, or by companies providing public services, such as data on the progress of buses."

In addition, it would oppose the sale of personal data "such as health or tax records, for commercial or other ends" and use government purchasing power to support open standards in IT.

Pictured: Developers and outsourcing by Shunitf (Taken by Shunitf) GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

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