THE Greens might be a long shot to take the North Swindon seat at next month's general election, but candidate Andy Bentley is serious about his party making a big difference

As you might expect, the Green Party's manifesto focuses on environmental issues, as you might expect, with a promise to spend £100 billion a year on cutting emissions, to plant 700m trees in the next 10 years and to remove fossil fuels from the economy.

But it is far from a single-issue document – the party is saying it would spend £6bn a year extra on the NHS, and would bring in a universal minimum income of £89 for all adults in the UK, whether they are working or not.

But Mr Bentley is clear this is not simply a way to raise issues and get other parties to adopt them when they seem less radical.

He said: “We are in a climate crisis now, but the Green Party has been warning of this for more than 30 years, when I started campaigning with it.

"If Green politicians had been elected then, we wouldn’t be in a crisis now, something would have been done about it long ago.

“Obviously action on the climate is very prominent and so is the Green New Deal which is our policy, and has been since Caroline Lucas started working on it years ago.”

The Green New Deal, which was put to parliament in a bill earlier this year is an ambitious programme which seeks to invest public money in measures to cut carbon emissions, such as transport infrastructure and new housing regulations and standards.

Mr Bentley said other measures on welfare, health and education were also “exciting moves to resolve deep-seated issues underpinning society.

“The universal income, which is now an idea which the shadow chancellor has started talking about, is designed to replace one half of the benefits system – the safety net where benefits are used to make sure people can have a roof over their head and food on their table.

“The point of giving it to everyone is to take away the uncertainty – if someone’s work hours change, or if they are on a zero hours contract; the universal income takes away that fear of being left without anything.

“Those people who are making a lot of money will pay it back in taxes, so everyone wins. All elected Green candidates will be working hard to bring these measures about.”

The other candidates in North Swindon are Conservative Justin Tomlinson, Labour’s Kate Linnegar and Lib Dem Katie Critchlow.