The Green Party has defended its pledge to raise taxes and said it is the only party being honest with the public during the General Election campaign.

Increases in wealth tax, capital gains tax and national insurance are included in the party’s manifesto, which it claims will raise up to £70 billion per year.

This comes as the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) described the party’s policies as “wholly unattainable” and accused it of helping to “poison the entire political debate”.

Adrian Ramsay during BBC interview
Adrian Ramsay appearing during a BBC General Election interview (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

Appearing on the BBC’s Panorama Interviews, co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: “The IFS, Institute for Fiscal Studies, has been very clear that the next government is either going to have to cut public services, or increase taxes.

“And so the Green Party is the only party being honest in this election, that says, actually, by European standards, we can make fairly modest changes to the tax system, asking those with the broadest shoulders to pay modestly more.”

During the interview with Nick Robinson, Mr Ramsay denied that the party’s proposed carbon tax would impact everyone, instead claiming that this would hit the “big polluting companies”.

He said: “What we’re proposing in the carbon tax, is a tax that hits the big polluting companies that are causing the climate emergency, that has a huge impact on people on poorer incomes.

“So, a tax for example, on high polluting imports of goods, that undermine British manufacturing, we want to support low carbon British manufacturing.”

He added: “Experts, economists, climate scientists warn us that the costs of not tackling the climate crisis are far greater than the costs of tackling.”

The manifesto totals £145 billion, Mr Ramsay justified the spending “because we have an NHS at breaking point that requires substantial investment”.

He added: “The share of the economy that goes into tax at the moment is near the bottom of the European league table.

“What we’re proposing would move us up, but we would still be below where France and other countries are, so actually, it’s Labour and Conservatives that are way out of step with what other countries are doing.”

The Greens have a policy of “no borders”, which is not included in the manifesto, but is included in the party’s policy document.

When questioned on this, Mr Ramsay said: “The reason for that is that at the moment there are growing numbers of people who are risking their lives fleeing their country because of war or persecution or poverty or climate change, and we need to address the root causes of that, that’s got to be the starting point.”

Asked whether the party’s proposal to regulate the drugs market will mean people can legally take ketamine and cocaine at music festivals, Mr Ramsay said this would be an “evidence-based decision” following the independent commission it is proposing to set up.

General Election campaign 2024
Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay interviewed by BBC’s Nick Robinson (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

He added: “We need to see drug addiction as a medical issue, not as a criminal issue, to support individuals who are addicted to regulate those drugs, which, as I say, are in the hands of criminal gangs.”

He continued: “We are making the point that for so called softer drugs, the police spending lots of time pursuing individuals for possession is not necessarily the best use of police time, compared to all the work that the criminal gangs profit from that situation.”

Mr Ramsay told the BBC that the Green Party had learned from the situation which saw a male rapist, who said they identified as a woman called Isla, sent to a women’s prison in Scotland.

The Green Party of England and Wales, who Mr Ramsay is representing, is separate to the Scottish Green Party.

Mr Ramsay said: “I think there has to be learning for all of society on the way these changes are made, and ensuring that all spaces, whether they be prisons or any other public spaces, are run in a way that is safe for everybody involved, preserves people’s dignity, is absolutely paramount, and the government has been clear, male bodied people should not be put in female prisons, and personally I would support that.

“And my second point I would make is that this whole discussion, as so many people have said, has become highly toxic, in a way that ignores the fact that we have very high levels of violence against women and girls, we have a gender pay gap in this country.”