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Manifesto rankings: Labour’s green plans score four times higher than Conservatives’, but fall short on funding commitments

news release

The Green Party and Liberal Democrats easily top the ranking with both committing to much greater ambition. 

Labour’s plans for climate and nature have scored four times higher than the Conservatives’, according to a new joint analysis of political party manifestos carried out by Greenpeace UK and Friends of the Earth [1]. However, the green groups warn that if elected the party must draw up much bolder plans to ensure the UK’s domestic and global environmental targets are met, and so that it can fully reap the massive economic rewards offered by the green transition.

The analysis evaluated the four manifestos against 40 policy recommendations published last autumn by the organisations. The Green Party scored highest with a near perfect score of 39 out of 40, followed by the Liberal Democrats with 32, the Labour Party with 21 and the Conservatives bottom with 5. Scores were also broken down into four categories: climate and energy, homes and transport, nature and environment, and justice and democracy and can be found in the notes section below [3]. 

For stating its intention to reduce the UK’s dependence on oil and gas and boost renewables to strengthen energy security, create jobs and cut bills, Labour scored particularly well. It also committed to meeting the internationally agreed target to reduce carbon emissions by two-thirds by 2030 and empowering local authorities to deliver a fairer green transition through improved public transport and local nature protection.

But the party has not yet committed to the scale of funding needed for greener farming, cheaper public transport, or to upgrade cold, carbon-leaking homes as fast as is needed. The party has also stayed quiet on upholding the right to protest, despite the Conservative government’s recent crackdown via draconian legislation. 

Meanwhile the Conservative Party’s manifesto scored far worse than Labour’s, the Liberal Democrats’ and the Green Party’s. Instead, the Tory manifesto doubled down in trying to make climate and nature a wedge issue by committing to licence new fossil fuels on an annual basis, ban measures to clean up toxic air, and spark a bonfire of ‘red tape’ when it comes to protecting the environment.

The Green Party topped the scoring with Liberal Democrats not far behind. Both parties committed to raising billions more in taxation, which includes plans to increase taxes on wealth to fund areas such as improving public transport and additional support for international development. Both parties suggest they are prepared to borrow more to fund home energy efficiency upgrades, the switch to electric heating and nature restoration – all of which would create thousands of new jobs across the UK and in many instances reduce the cost of living and increase economic growth. 


While the Liberal Democrats offered a stronger plan than Labour on sewage pollution through levers such as taxing water company profits and setting more stringent legal targets, the party failed to commit to ending new oil and gas projects – a major test of international leadership on climate change. This diverges significantly with the Labour Party, which made this a central part of its offer.  


The analysis and ranking comes ahead of Wednesday’s head-to-head debate between Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer on BBC One, and with just ten days to go until polling day. So far, the climate and nature crises have failed to feature as a priority issue throughout the election campaign, despite recent surveys showing that more than four in five people are concerned about climate change and over two thirds say it will influence how they vote at the ballot box.

That’s why the green groups are calling on all political parties to strengthen their green policy packages if elected, to ensure the UK delivers on vital upcoming targets to restore and protect climate and nature and reinstate the UK as a leader in the global race to a green economy.

Greenpeace UK’s head of politics, Rebecca Newsom, said: “This ranking exposes the good, the bad and the ugly, when it comes to the environmental pledges on offer. While the Greens and Lib Dems showcase what can be done to deliver a green and prosperous future with enough political will, it’s the stark chasm between the two main parties that’s most telling.

“Labour set out a clear vision for a bright future with lower bills and clean energy, while generating hundreds of thousands of jobs and cutting emissions – helping to tackle the climate crisis. Meanwhile, the Conservatives’ divisive proposal will deliver the very opposite. More fossil fuels, more toxic air pollution and more climate-wrecking emissions that will hit the poorest hardest.

“The manifestos of the two main parties provide a glimpse into the possible worlds that voters will choose to inherit next month. And, when it comes to climate leadership and supporting workers and communities to benefit from the green transition, there’s a clear and obvious choice.”

Friends of the Earth’s head of policy, Mike Childs, said: “With the UK veering so dangerously off track for meeting its climate targets under the Conservatives – whose manifesto is so distinctly lacklustre it’s almost laughable – it’s encouraging that Labour is 100% committed to delivering on the internationally agreed goal to reduce emissions by more than two-thirds by 2030. This is vital if the UK is to play its part in the global effort to avert runaway climate breakdown.

“But to do so, Labour must develop additional policies to those in its manifesto and come up with a robust strategy for funding vital measures to make sectors like farming and housing greener. It should also draw on some of the policy ideas proposed by the Lib Dems and Green Party if elected – namely those that ensure the green transition is fair and equitable.

“If growth is the party’s mantra, then it must seize the many opportunities that action on climate and nature present – such as lower bills, hundreds of thousands of new jobs in clean industries, a healthier, more prosperous economy and a safer future for us all.”

ENDS

Contact:

Friends of the Earth press office – 020 7566 1649 or media@foe.co.uk

Greenpeace UK Press Office – press.uk@greenpeace.org or 020 7865 8255

Notes to editors:

  1. Full analysis of UK-wide political party manifestos by Greenpeace UK and Friends of the Earth
  2. Methodology:

    This general election, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace UK teamed up to score party manifestos jointly for the first time. The four main political parties were scored against a set of 40 policy recommendations compiled by the two organisations, which were shared with each party in advance

    If a policy recommendation was largely or fully met, one point was scored, 0.5 points were awarded if partially met, and 0 if not or hardly met.

    The first stage in our process involved producing draft scoring for each party on their manifesto and sharing the results with the parties to provide opportunity for feedback, clarifications and to tell us additional current party policy for consideration that did not make it into their manifesto. Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party used this opportunity to provide further evidence, however the Conservative Party did not.(
    This additional content will be made available online once the embargo has lifted on Monday 24 June). To complete the exercise we reviewed this additional content and adjusted our scoring accordingly.

    For any specific questions about policies or scoring, please contact media@foe.co.uk or press.uk@greenpeace.org.
  3. Scores by category:
Scores out of 10 for the four categories
 LabourConservativesLib DemsGreen
Climate and Energy6.51.56.510
Nature and Environment51.579
Homes and Transport4.51.58.510
Justice & democracy4.50.59.510
Total20.5531.539


4. An overview of the analysis will be available on the websites of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace UK on Monday 24 June.

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