Archive for February, 2015

‘We need a transport system that meets people’s travel needs’ writes Geoff Barnes, Green Parliamentary candidate for Gainsborough

February 28, 2015

Green Party Launch 2015 General Election Campaign

February 24, 2015
real change* Greens already confirmed to stand in almost 90% of seats
* Six key election themes revealed
* ‘Standing for the Common Good’ campaign poster unveiled
* “Our biggest, boldest campaign ever”, says Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader
* Caroline Lucas MP: “Parliament needs a clear, strong Green voice now more than ever”
* “The sense of change is palpable”, says Darren Hall, Green PPC for Bristol West
The Green Party today announces its largest ever slate of candidates for Parliament and six key themes for the 2015 General Election campaign.
The Party, which committed to stand in “at least” 75% of seats at the 2014 Autumn Conference, is now already on track to stand in almost 90% of seats at the 2015 General Election (1). The percentage is set to continue climbing in coming weeks as more local parties select candidates ready to stand for the common good.
The increased appetite for Green values and policies – as demonstrated by the Party’s best polling in a generation – will be met by increased opportunities to vote Green at the ballot box on May 7th 2015.
Bennett, Lucas and Darren Hall, PPC for Bristol West, made speeches and took questions at the official campaign launch where a ‘Standing for the Common Good’ campaign poster was unveiled to the media.
In her speech, Natalie Bennett, The Green Party Leader and PPC for Holborn and St Pancras, outlined the party’s six key electoral themes (2).
“Something profound is happening in British Politics. The old way of doing things is falling apart as the politics of hope triumphs over the politics of fear. The Green Party wants to create a political system that puts the public first and we believe we have the means to achieve that ambition. Our membership numbers have soared, our poll ratings are the best for a generation and we’re going to be fighting our biggest, boldest campaign ever. It’s a truly exciting time to be part of The Green Party.”
Caroline Lucas MP, recently named Patchwork’s MP of the Year (3) and widely tipped to retain her Brighton Pavilion seat, spoke about her time as a local MP and record of standing up for her constituents in the community and Parliament.  Lucas said:
“A good local MP insists on getting the answers that need to be had, asking the questions that must be asked on behalf of constituents. As a Green MP, I have no Party whip – and my voice has been much stronger for it.  My position isn’t decided for me by a Party official – my constituents feed into every speech and every vote. 
“In fighting for the issues that matter most to Brighton residents – from a truly protected NHS, improved and public Railways, a fair and resilient local economy; in addressing the housing and cost of living crisis and standing up for local schools and individual constituents – I think I’ve been able to demonstrate how much one MP can do if they really want to.
“And as austerity cuts deepen and privatisation tightens its grip on our public services – Party lines, far from becoming more distinctive, have blurred into one another. Parliament needs a clear, strong Green voice now, perhaps, more than ever.” 
Darren Hall, the Green Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in Bristol West, has seen his odds of success cut drastically in recent weeks. Recent local election results in his constituency suggest that Hall could be joining Lucas in Parliament in May.  Hall said:
“In Bristol the sense of change is palpable. Our membership numbers have surged, and people from across the city are getting involved in my campaign. The fact is that people like our policies – our job is to make sure they hear about them. The momentum is with us in Bristol, as it is across the UK, and these next ten weeks will, no doubt, be very exciting.”
The Green Party, which has seen membership surge from 12,000 in 2010 to over 54,000 today, is targeting seats up and down the UK – from St Ives to Liverpool Riverside.
Baroness Jenny Jones introduced the launch, which took place at the Royal Society of Arts at 10.00
Notes
1 The Green Party has selected candidates in 390 constituencies across England and Wales with 119 in the pipeline. That means Greens will stand in at least 509 seats (or 88.83% of the total 573 seats).
2 Themes:
Greens will rebuild our economy so everyone gets a fair share.
Greens will put the public at the heart of the NHS.
Greens will ensure everyone has a secure, affordable place to live.
Greens will take action on climate change to protect our planet.
Greens will invest in and create a public transport system to be proud of.
Greens will ensure every young person that wants to can access quality education.

http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/11/06/caroline-lucas-named-mp-of-the-year/

Tax Dodging, is costing us £70 Billion a year, we need action not words by Sue MacFarlane

February 18, 2015

Greens raise £75k to stand in most constituencies in May

February 16, 2015

crowdThe Green Party hit a milestone on Sunday, after raising nearly £75,000 towards standing in as many seats as possible in England & Wales.

The money was raised through the crowdfunding site Crowdfunder, with nearly 3,000 people pledging in just 16 days.

After already having candidates in place in 75% of seats – more than the Lib Dems – the £75,000 will enable enable the national party to support local branches struggling to raise their deposit in the 25% of seats which do not yet have a Green Party candidate. At £500 per constituency, standing for parliament is an expensive affair.

While it is not expected that there will be a completely full slate, the money will go a long way to making sure as many people as possible get a chance to vote Green in May.

The money also frees up local parties to spend their own funds on campaigning for the candidates themselves. But it also builds on the £300,000 donated by Vivienne Westwood to the party’s General Election campaign. The party also announced a generous donor pledged £10,000 to add to the final tally.

Every saved deposit out of the money handed down to local parties will go towards future election campaigns.

The Greens have led the way in terms of crowdfunding, with dozens of successful projects run via the Crowdfunder site, while local parties (including north of the border) have also embraced the model as a form of clean people-powered funding. They’ve also got a cracking new website

Original source – bright green

Green Candidates Back NHS Reinstatement Bill

February 11, 2015

Green-Party-Montage-2yc8wo77jzgfbqweq5gflsOne hundred Green Party candidates for the May General Election have given their clear support for the NHS Reinstatement Bill 2015 [1] and there is no sign of that support slowing down.  This impressive wave of support reflects the Party’s core commitment to public services which are not privatised, but are true to their founding principles and can safely continue to be publicly owned for the future.

More candidates are adding their support all the time [you can see what the candidates in your area say here].

The NHS Reinstatement Bill frames a clear mechanism to protect the NHS against the damage of privatisation, in overturning key aspects of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and earlier legislation that set the NHS in England on the road to fragmentation – often without public consultation, and nearly always without their full awareness. As such, it reflects Green Party policy towards the NHS and other public institutions which have been threatened by privatisation and now stand on the brink of collapse as successive governments sought to sell them off for ideological reasons, and despite growing evidence that there is no strong financial argument supporting the privatisation agenda [2].

Far from being yet another ‘top-down, centralised, re-structuring’, crucially the NHS Reinstatement Bill hands responsibility for provision of service back to the Secretary of State for Health, something the HSCA severed [3] – thereby effectively uncoupling ultimate responsibility for the NHS from Parliament. It also spells out how, if the NHS is to be saved, it must:

  • Reinstate the government’s duty to provide the NHS in England.
  • Re-establish NHS England as a special health authority.
  • Re-establish District Health Authorities, with Family Health Services Committees to administer arrangements with GPs, dentists and others.
  • Abolish marketised bodies such as NHS foundation trusts, as well as Monitor, the regulator of NHS foundation trusts and commercial companies [4].
  • Allow commercial companies to provide services only if the NHS could not do so and otherwise patients would suffer [5].
  • Abolish competition [2].
  • Re-establish Community Health Councils to represent the interest of the public.
  • Stop licence conditions imposed by Monitor on NHS foundation trusts. These will reduce the number of services that they currently have to provide from April 2016: the end of the universal service.
  • Bring the terms and conditions of NHS staff back under the NHS Staff Council [6].
  • Prohibit ratification of treaties like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) without the approval of Parliament if they would cover the NHS [7].

Jillian Creasy is Health spokesperson for the Green Party, and prospective parliamentary candidate, Sheffield Central:

“I fully support the NHS Reinstatement Bill. I qualified as a doctor in 1982. I have worked through the marketisation and privatisation of the Tory and Labour years and now the Coalition. Bringing in private providers does not only fragment services and leach money out of the public economy, it threatened the whole ethos of public service. Staff across the board have been forced to concentrate on prices and targets, instead of thinking about how to maximize the quality of care. Nothing short of complete reversal of privatisation will restore the NHS we know and love.”

Professor Allyson Pollock worked with Peter Roderick, a lawyer, on the NHS Reinstatement Bill:

“We’re delighted so many Green Party candidates have voiced their support. It’s encouraging to see candidates for a party which stands for responsible public ownership and an eye to the legacy we leave our descendants say they are behind us. Members of the public, parliamentary candidates, health professionals: all are coming forward to say enough is enough – and this Bill is the way back to a future health service we can be proud to think of protecting. Please, if you do nothing else before this election, ask your parliamentary candidates to say what they think of the NHS Reinstatement Bill and let us know.”

Editors’ Notes

[1] The Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill is a non-partisan campaign and has a wide range of support across the political spectrum (http://www.nhsbill2015.org/our-supporters/ ). It encourages the public to contact prospective parliamentary candidates in their constituency, determine their views on the Reinstatement Bill, and gain their support for it wherever possible:

http://www.nhsbill2015.org

@nhsbill2015

The Campaign’s press officer is Alan Taman:

07870 757 309

healthjournos@gmail.com

http://www.nhsbill2015.org/press-contact

[2] The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models. [Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.

[3] The HSCA has removed the Secretary of State for Health’s responsibility to provide as well as promote a universal, comprehensive health service in England. In effect, this has compromised parliament’s ultimate responsibility for the NHS. [Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 178-181.]The NHS Reinstatement Bill [http://www.nhsbill2015.org/the-bill] would restore this founding principle of the NHS, which has been undermined largely for ideological reasons and despite the evidence that inequalities in health are growing in the UK as a direct result of wider inequalities fostered by the same ideology [Dorling, D. (2013) Unequal Health: The scandal of our times. The Policy Press: London, Chapter 1].

[4] The Bill would ensure that any handover of employment for NHS staff from NHS FTs, CCGs and NHS trusts to the new NHS bodies was conducted with the full participation of Trade Unions and would require the Secretary of State for Health to make regulations setting out the terms and conditions of transfer. Overturning the current situation where long-established agreements with the workforce are being systematically overturned, to the detriment of many NHS staff.

[5] The NHS has always used private firms, partnerships and individual traders to provide services it could not easily or as cost-effectively provide for itself, eg some legal services and construction of or repair to NHS buildings. What the NHS Reinstatement Bill does is end the current obligation on NHS services to use tendering to determine which organisation delivers front-line healthcare: this is pro-privatisation engineering and is an ongoing threat to the comprehensiveness of NHS care.

[6] The Bill would ensure that any handover of employment for NHS staff from NHS FTs, CCGs and NHS trusts to the new NHS bodies was conducted with the full participation of Trade Unions and would require the Secretary of State for Health to make regulations setting out the terms and conditions of transfer.

[7] The TTIP, if enacted as it stands currently, would make it very difficult for future governments to reverse the provision of healthcare by private organisations if they could show this would prove commercially damaging to them [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_Trade_and_Investment_Partnership ].

Everyone has the right to an affordable, secure home.

February 3, 2015

by Kat Boettge

11032011487If you’re aged 20 to 30-something, paying a large chunk of your salary on rent, and have little hope of raising a deposit to buy a home, then consider yourself part of ‘Generation Rent’. With 73% of private tenants aged under 45, and 78% of landlords aged over 45*, the imbalance between the generations is startling. ‘Rent Freedom Day’, an event organised by the campaign group Generation Rent, and taking place at Westminster on Wednesday 4 February, wants to see a fairer deal for renters, an improvement in the standard of rented housing, and a re-balancing of home ownership between young and old.
Housing has become a case of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Whilst average pay for young people has fallen by 15% from 2008-2013, landlords have enjoyed an average of 16.3% profit every year since buy-to-let lending started in the 1990s. This has been buoyed by policies such as 10% tax breaks for ‘wear and tear allowance’ – the benefits of which do not appear to be trickling down to renters.
Whilst many landlords are responsive and attentive, some are neglectful and mercenary; over a third of dwellings in the private rented sector are classed as non-decent, and a quarter of tenants have requested repairs which are not carried out. Unfortunately there are few options available to tenants to force their landlords to improve, with existing safeguards (such as action from local council Health and Safety teams) only available in the most extreme examples.
Vote For Change
According to ComRes polling, 35% of the UK’s 10 million private renters are swing voters, and 86 parliamentary seats have enough private rental swing voters to overturn the incumbent MP’s majority. This means renters can have real influence in the upcoming election. Generation Rent policies such as a national register of landlords, an end to rip-off letting agents’ fees, the outlawing of revenge evictions, and the introduction of modern rent controls, will begin to re-address the balance in favour of renters.
The Green Party is proud to support the Generation Rent campaign and ‘Rent Freedom Day’. In addition, the Green Party’s broader economic policies such as a £10 minimum wage, higher rates of council tax for unoccupied properties and second homes, and a massive investment in building more affordable, efficient homes, will make sure that young people’s dreams of home-ownership can become a reality.
Join ‘Rent Freedom Day’

On the 4th February campaigners and organisations including the Intergenerational Foundation and Generation Rent are lobbying Parliament and the main political parties, and holding a series of talks and workshops for private renters who are fed up and want to take action. Rent Freedom Day is free to attend, and is the last opportunity before the General Election to pressure politicians to fix the housing market.
Full details for Rent Freedom Day are available here: http://www.rentfreedomday.org/schedule
To find out more about the work of Generation Rent, visit the website: http://www.generationrent.org/campaigns
– Matt Sisson is the Green Party’s Parliamentary Candidate for Loughborough