Molly celebrates her first year as the first Green MEP for the South West by hitting the stage at the Glastonbury Festival this weekend! She will join celebrity campaigner Charlotte Church, civil liberties activist Shami Chakrabati and veteran politician Ken Livingstone to talk politics at the festival’s ‘Left Field’ on Sunday. She will also be on the platform at the ‘Green Futures’ field.
Pressing for lower VAT rate to help address fuel poverty
Molly is pressing the European Commission to allow a reduced VAT rate for energy saving materials in the wake of a ruling by the European Court of Justice (CJEU) that the 5% lower VAT rate for such materials in housing violates the EU’s VAT Directive. Molly believes a lower VAT rate is key to tackling fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions. Many areas of the South West have above average levels of fuel poverty with parts of Cornwall and North Devon being particularly badly affected. Molly says:
“This ruling means households and landlords will face significantly higher costs for doing what is socially and environmentally desirable. I fear that many will now be deterred from fitting energy saving measures in their homes, consigning many to the misery of fuel poverty.”
Green money for the common good
Last week Molly launched a new report she had commissioned detailing how ‘green money’, or Green QE, can help Europe transition to a sustainable economy. Attending the launch were Miguel Gil-Tertre, from the Commission, and Victor Anderson, author of the report. Molly says:
“Quantitative easing to date has simply further benefited wealthy elites. But QE is just a technique to create money and we need to reclaim it for the common good. We need the money we create to be invested in energy from safe, clean renewable sources and provide safe clean homes for all the citizens of our continent. This public investment will create jobs for the thousands of unemployed across our continent while simultaneously building up our green infrastructure.”
Molly was part of a delegation visit from the European Parliament’s Tax committee to London last week to explore the role played by The City and the UK’s overseas dependencies in the global system of tax avoidance by corporations. The delegation held discussions with government, and HMRC officials. The TAXE committee was set up in the wake of the Luxleaks scandal. Molly says:
“These delegation visits help provide the information we need in order to make recommendations on clamping down on the regulatory loopholes which allow corporations to shift profits around to avoid taxation. The government must live up to its rhetoric on ending tax avoidance and support the Commission’s plans for a common consolidated corporate tax base in the EU and country-by-country reporting.
Tories try to block Navitus Bay wind farm
Molly has thrown her support behind a proposed off-shore wind farm in Dorset and accuses the Tory government of seeking not only to block on-shore wind but off-shore wind farms too. Navitus Bay Wind Park would be located off the Dorset and Hampshire coasts, to the west of the Isle of Wight and could produce enough renewable energy to power up to 700,000 homes a year. Molly says:
“While the government promise to give local people and local councils the power to veto renewable energy projects, they refuse such powers in relation to nuclear, fossil fuel or fracking projects. There appears to be an ideological obsession against wind power at the heart of government. This is undermining the huge jobs potential for renewables in the South West and threatens the sustainable future we all need.”
Molly welcomes Pope’s encyclical
The much anticipated encyclical on the environment was published by the Vatican last week. Molly says:
“This ground-breaking encyclical presents the moral case on climate change. If that is the case it demonstrates just how immoral our government is. On the very day the Pope makes his urgent plea to political leaders for action on climate change, our government announces it is pulling subsidies for onshore wind and plans to go all out for fracking.”