We head into the final full week of campaigning ahead of the most important general election for several decades.
Throughout the weeks of canvassing, politicking and debating, The Big Issue has been asking politicians up and down the land to ensure that this is not an election defined solely by the binary choice of Brexit and the short-termism that brings, but also a necessity to take into account the needs of the generations to come. Our Future Generations Pledge has proved to be the only thing that the deeply divided political heavyweights in this country can agree upon. This week the leaders of all the main parties, and, in Caroline Lucas, the most influential in hers, write for The Big Issue, supporting our Future Generations Pledge.
THE BIG ISSUE’S FUTURE GENERATIONS PLEDGE
- ACT TODAY FOR TOMORROW
Working to prevent problems, including the climate crisis and poverty, from happening instead of dealing in short-term political emergencies.
- RESPECT THE NEEDS OF FUTURE GENERATIONS
Taking their needs into account in new policies, budgets and laws, giving them a seat at the table.
- BACK THE FUTURE GENERATIONS BILL
Delivering a new, sustainable vision for the nation that prioritises the environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of current and future generations.
Boris Johnson, Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister
I applaud The Big Issue for raising these critical issues, which are about the future of our children and grandchildren.
A Conservative majority government led by me will be dedicated to tackling the climate emergency, reaching Net Zero by 2050 with investment in clean energy and green infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions.
We’ll give people a route out of poverty by putting in place the right education and work opportunities, creating more jobs and levelling up skills across the country.
We’ll give the next generation the chance to make a better life for themselves, investing in housing, infrastructure and local communities in every part of the United Kingdom.
None of these issues will be fixed if we have another hung parliament and more paralysis in Westminster over Brexit. If there’s a Conservative majority government, we’ll get Brexit done by the end of January, so we can move on and dedicate our energies to these vital tasks.
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party Leader
I’m proud to back The Big Issue’s Pledge to Future Generations. We have a climate and environmental emergency on our hands and it is young people who have led the way, calling on politicians to wake up and act.
This general election is our last chance to radically change course. Our manifesto is the most ambitious and comprehensive plan for tackling the climate crisis that has ever been put forward by a political party in the UK.
Labour will immediately set out in law robust, binding new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, and habitats and species protection.
Future generations are at the heart of our manifesto. We will build a properly funded National Youth Service, massively expand free childcare and open 1,000 new Sure Start centres, giving every child a secure start in life.
Labour will guarantee parity for mental health, and back this promise with an extra £1.6 billion NHS spending per year to fund counselling services for schools, community mental health hubs for young people and ensure 24/7 crisis care.
We’ll tackle the crisis of low pay by introducing a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour and abolish in-work poverty within a Parliament. Workers will have full rights from day one and we’ll ban zero-hours contracts. And we’ll build a million homes so that future generations never have to worry about having a roof over their head. Labour will transform the country so that it works for the many, not the few.
Nicola Sturgeon, SNP Leader and Scottish First Minister
The SNP and the government in Scotland are leading the way with our focus on wellbeing and ensuring that we concentrate on social and environmental issues alongside growing the economy. Our goals as a society should be measured on the basis of how healthy and happy a population is, not how wealthy we are.
The Big Issue’s pledge for future generations fits well, within that wellbeing approach – and while many of the areas in this bill are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, it shows the ambition and direction that we all want to go in.
SNP MPs in the next Parliament will continue to build on our work in Scotland to build a sustainable future focused on improving opportunities for young people and enhancing their health and wellbeing.
Caroline Lucas, Green Party figurehead
We have to build a better world for our children, so they have jobs, homes, clean air and a habitable planet. That’s why I’m supporting The Big Issue’s Future Generations Pledge, so that their needs are front and centre of all government decision-making. No more short-termism which delivers quick fixes for today but ignores the impacts tomorrow.
We are facing so many crises right now, but the most serious is the climate emergency. This election could be our last chance to address it and get off the dangerous path we are now on. That’s why the Green Party has made a Green New Deal the focus of its election pledges, building a sustainable, more equal society where everyone can thrive.
That’s not all. People want to take back control over their lives, and that means rebuilding our democracy, removing power from Westminster and creating a fairer voting system so people feel they have a say in what happens in their lives.
A healthy democracy, green jobs, a more equal society and a liveable planet. This must be our pledge to future generations.
Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrats Leader
Liberal Democrats want to stop Brexit and build a brighter future. That’s why I’m backing The Big Issue’s Pledge to Future Generations.
At this general election we have plans to transform our mental health services, recruit 20,000 more teachers, give all adults £10,000 to learn new skills and help out families with free childcare from nine months. And we will use the £50bn Remain Bonus to tackle in-work poverty and give children the best start in life.
We are also the only party with a credible and radical plan to tackle the climate crisis. We are the last generation that can stop irreversible climate change, yet government leadership has been uninspiring, in stark contrast to the children and teenagers who have taken to our streets to ask for urgent action. The Liberal Democrats have a 10-year emergency plan to reduce emissions as quickly as possible, to generate 80 per cent of our electricity from renewables by 2030 and to lift millions out of fuel poverty by 2025.
In our manifesto we have also committed to publish a wellbeing budget so that government decisions are based on how we ensure that every individual, community and our planet can thrive, not just what is best for GDP growth. Our wellbeing budget will spell out our priorities for public spending on the things that matter most – both right now and for future generations.
Adam Price AM, Plaid Cymru Leader
Plaid Cymru is proud to support John Bird and The Big Issue’s Future Generations Pledge.
We have set out our plan to tackle the defining challenge of our age – climate change – with a £20 billion Green Jobs Revolution precisely because we recognise the need to act urgently to arrest climate change, and to create the jobs of the future so that our people can benefit from our nation’s wealth of natural resources.
Wales also faces another huge challenge – poverty. Despite being a nation rich in national resources and in the talents and skills of our people, 200,000 children in Wales still live in poverty. That’s why we’ve set out our plan to introduce a Welsh Child Payment – a £35 a week payment for every child in a low-income family – which would lift 50,000 children out of poverty immediately, alongside a new vision for care from cradle to grave.
We have set out our plan for a National Reconstruction Fund to rebuild Wales. An incoming Plaid Cymru government in 2021 will embark upon the biggest programme of reconstruction our nation has seen since devolution. We have a comprehensive plan for national infrastructure and green investment designed to reverse decades of decline.
This momentous task will take a generation, but we must start now in order to ensure that we leave our children and grandchildren a Wales and a world that they can be proud of.
Read more inside this week’s issue of The Big Issue magazine, on sale on streets across the country.