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Greens want landlords to foot £9bn funding bill

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A one-off tax on residential landlords to fund extra winter fuel payments has been proposed by the Green Party.

Co-leader Adrian Ramsay told the party’s annual conference last week that the  proposal was ‘about keeping households from falling into fuel poverty, it’s about keeping people safe. It’s about the state responding to market failure. It’s about human dignity’.

The Greens want an extra £320 paid to every household to counter increased energy bills. This would cost the nation £9bn, which the Greens propose to fund through a one-off tax on private landlords equal to 1 per cent of the value of their rented properties.

Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay, who were elected co-leaders of the Greens earlier this month, used their first leaders’ speech to tell members their policy was what the Government should be doing to show leadership. ‘It’s an issue which shows how climate justice and social justice go hand in hand – something they just don’t get. It’s also just a bridge to get us to the tough work of a real, Green New Deal’.

The measure would provide people with emergency support ahead of implementing the party’s flagshipGreen New Deal programme which would reduce household heating bills through large scale roll-out of insulation schemes and renewable energy, the leaders claimed.

Half a million people were plunged into fuel poverty earlier this month by the £139 energy price cap increase, while an extra 1.5m could be left struggling to pay their bills if energy bills rise again in April as expected, say the Greens.

Meanwhile, they claim, ‘private landlords have profited during the COVID pandemic, seeing rents increase by 6.6 per cent in the last year alone, more than double the rate of inflation, while the value of properties has increased by £25,000 in the same period.

‘The Greens’ proposal will see more than 90 per cent of households benefit (fewer than 10 per cent of households contain a private landlord) and only dent the wealth of private landlords by 0.6 per cent (landlords’ wealth will have increased by £116bn in the last year, instead of £125bn)’.