Reacting to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's budget, Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
"This is a budget that profoundly fails the British people.
"We need to build a caring Britain, that provides for the needs of the young and the vulnerable, with a secure economic base that can be the foundation for the future in an economically volatile world. This budget does neither.
"The move towards a living wage standard as a minimum wage is welcome – and reflects a long-term Green Party campaign – but the tax credit and other benefit cuts are going to leave many struggling families close to or over the edge of financial disaster. And the living wage not applying to the under 25s, many of whom also won't be eligible for housing benefit, will leave many in impossible situations.
"The dropping of the level of Employment Support Allowance is a direct attack on the ill and disabled. And the drop in the benefits cap comes in the light of a legal ruling that the existing inadequate level puts Britain in breach of its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This in one of the world's richest economies is simply a disgrace."
"The cuts to student maintenance grants are a symbol of the way this government has constructed its economic strategy on using rising household debt to fund tax cuts and fuel economic growth and refusing to rein in our still out-of-control, fraud-ridden financial sector, rather than building a strong, diverse, low-carbon economy of healthy small businesses and cooperatives making and growing products.
"In the uncertain, unstable global economic climate, the government should be prioritising reducing risk and building strong, diverse local economies.
"And as many other states are powering ahead with renewable energy, we have a government that's making it even harder to establish and develop renewable energy projects, while ignoring the economic, social and environmental benefits of investing in providing warm, comfortable, affordable-to-heat homes for all."