Archive for the ‘Cuts’ Category

Campaign Issues for 2013

April 15, 2013

DSCF2820THE GREEN Party are proud to announce that they are standing over 1000 candidates are standing in May’s County Elections, with 14 candidates standing across Northamptonshire.

The Green Party’s key campaign issues for 2013 include:

No to Welfare Cuts — The Green Party believes that cuts to essential welfare programs like jobseekers’ assistance benefits, NHS services, and disability living allowances will only harm the economy further. The Government’s failed austerity measures have done nothing to bring Britain out of the recession and only served to line the pockets of banks and big business, leaving those who are most in need of assistance helpless. Green led Brighton and Hove Council has paved the way in declaring “No evictions for the Bedroom Tax”.

Yes to a Living Wage — The Green Party believes that all people deserve a living wage, rather than a minimum wage. This means earnings should be no less than 60% of net national average earnings (approximately £8.10 per hour). The institution of a living wage will help ensure low paid workers earn enough to provide for themselves and their families and eradicate poverty in Britain for good. Green Councillors are leading the way in making their councils Living Wage employers.

Transport —The Green Party is committed to introducing 20mph speed limits across the UK, improving pedestrian and cyclist safety. Cycle lanes where possible and genuine improvements in local public transport (increased buses to rural areas and improved local train service). We oppose the HS2 rail system, which is at its core a deeply flawed project that will not deliver the benefits it promises. The rail project is economically unsound, as the train as planned will cost each parliamentary constituency an average of £51 million—money which could be better spent on improving existing essential services. Furthermore, the proposed train will burn nearly 50% more energy per mile than the Eurostar, making the HS2 project both a financial and environmental disaster.

No to Incinerators — The Green Party firmly opposes the construction of new incinerators anywhere in the U.K. Incinerators are costly, dangerous to public health, and can be easily replaced by greener forms of waste diversion. Not only are incinerators dangerous to both the environment and the population, releasing harmful gasses and particulate matter directly into the atmosphere, but building new incinerators is also completely unnecessary. Encouraging the reduced production of waste and encouraging growth of recycling programs has proven to be one of the most effective forms of reducing overall waste, which would eliminate the need for more incinerators entirely

Housing benefit changes could ‘reduce affordable house-building’

March 26, 2013

New HousesThe House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts report, published today, concludes that the introduction of direct payments of housing benefit to tenants living in social housing could lead to an increase in rent arrears that would leave social landlords with less money to build new homes.

“There is a risk that the introduction of direct payments of housing benefit to tenants living in social housing could lead to an increase in rent arrears and evictions,” the report says.

It adds that an increase in arrears could “reduce the funds available for social landlords to maintain existing homes and invest in new homes”.

The report says that the committee had been told by housing association L&Q that it had doubled its provision for bad debts from 3.5 per cent to 7 per cent in preparation for a possible increase in arrears, and that the association now expects to reduce the number of homes it can build annually by 80 to 920.

The government announced measures in the Emergency Budget of June 2010 and the Spending Review of October 2010 aimed at altering the housing benefit system to reduce annual expenditure. The changes included reductions in the rates paid for private rented sector housing and deductions in payments to social sector tenants in under-occupied homes. Under-occupied homes are defined as homes in which there is more than one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household, with children under the age of 15 being expected to share with one other child of the same gender, and children under the age of 9 being expected to share with one other child aged nine or under, regardless of gender. The alterations bring under-occupation rules for social sector claimants in line with the rules for private rented sector claimants.

The MPs’ report said that the Department for Work and Pensions was introducing the changes “without comprehensive modelling of the likely outcome on individuals or on housing supply”.

It added: “The changes to housing benefit could have an adverse impact on levels of homelessness. Social landlords told us that they expected evictions to rise because some households would not make the behavioural changes needed to respond to housing benefit reforms.

National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said: “That the Government is bringing in these housing benefit changes without knowing the full consequence on the vulnerable people affected is worrying and irresponsible.

“Most residents who will be affected have little choice of action. In most areas, there just aren’t enough smaller affordable homes for these families to move into to avoid the tax. And disabled people are unable to easily move as their homes are adapted for their needs. Against a backdrop of rising homelessness, we ask the Government again to rethink this ill-conceived policy.”

SOURCE – http://www.planningresource.co.uk/news/1176267/mps-housing-benefit-changes-reduce-affordable-housebuilding/

BEDROOM TAX U-TURN: “HUGE WIN FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, BUT NOW EXEMPT DISABLED PEOPLE FROM THIS CRUEL AND COUNTERPRODUCTIVE MEASURE”, SAYS GREEN MP

March 12, 2013

carolinelucasCaroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, led the Opposition Day debate on the Government’s bedroom tax policy in February together with MPs from Plaid Cymru and SNP.

Responding to Iain Duncan Smith’s announcement today, she said:

“The eleventh hour decision to exempt foster carers and families with children in the armed forces from the new bedroom tax is a huge win for social justice – and a clear sign that the Government is beginning to recognise just how flawed and unfair this policy is.

“However, ministers should now go further and exempt disabled people too in order to protect the most vulnerable from losing their homes to this cruel and counterproductive measure.

DPAC in Northampton getting residents to sign petition

October 22, 2012

DPAC in Northampton getting residents to sign petition.

Campaign Against Cuts in Northampton

February 13, 2012

Northampton Alliance to Defend Public Services (NADS) would like to revitalise anti-cuts work in Northampton and wants to try to bring together as many interest groups as possible. There are various groups who are campaigning on single issues which could benefit from meeting together to discuss how to support each other and to devise imaginative ways to draw more people into activities.

The next NADS meeting is tomorrow, Tuesday 14th Feb, at the Old Black Lion from 7:15pm. There is also an open meeting to discuss immediate and longer term responses to local cuts by Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council. This takes place on Saturday 18th Feb at the Quaker Meeting House (opposite the back of M&S) at 2pm.

Northamptonshire County Council cuts include £1 million from recycling initiatives over two years. A £1.8 million reduction in care for older people this year. £3 million to be saved for child placements. £12 million to be taken out of adult social care payments over four years. £3.3 million increase adult social care customers will have to pay for support over the next four years. £1 million reduction in the library budget of over the next four years and they are reviewing commissioning, contract monitoring and engagement teams.

Northampton Borough is intending cuts of £1.8 million, including the cut to PCSOs and restructuring of debts which will lead to job losses. These cuts will be very damaging in terms of both services and jobs. Once again the most vulnerable will suffer most. Jobs will be lost at both councils and the voluntary sector will continue to lose income from grants. The budget votes will be on the 23rd February at NCC and on the 29th February at Northampton Borough.

If you can attend on Saturday, please let Northampton Trades Council Secretary, Sarah Ansell, know as soon as possible on 01604 709757 – by 5pm on Tuesday 14th February if you can.

NEW SOLAR SHOCK LEAVES INDUSTRY REEELING – GREEN MP

February 10, 2012

Responding to the Government’s announcement on solar feed-in tariffs today, Green MP Caroline Lucas said:

“This latest shock for solar shows clearly that the new energy secretary has fallen at the first hurdle.

After the Government’s shambolic handling of solar policy over the past few months, Ed Davey should have made it a priority to delay this policy change and get it right. But yesterday’s announcement once again leaves the industry reeling, with tariff cuts going far deeper than the falling costs of installation warrant.

“While the Government sounds ambitious in its aims, the actual policy looks weak – with Ministers giving themselves the option of changing the tariff every two months.

“The one thing that business needs is certainty, yet these Government cuts are being made so fast that it is destabilising the industry. The proposed tariff cuts also go deeper than the falling costs of installation should warrant.

“While it’s positive that the Government has agreed to drop the qualifying band rate for homes to band D, the announcement yesterday is bad news for the solar companies who have invested this year, and means continuing uncertainty for those want to benefit from this clean renewable energy.”

The Green Party ahead of Liberal Democrats in new poll

October 17, 2011

The Green Party are surging ahead of the Liberal Democrats according to the latest voter intention figures published by ComRes. Public support for the Liberal Democrats has declined dramatically thanks to a growing disillusionment with the coalition government over controversial NHS reforms, cuts in housing and education and a U-turn on tuition fees.

The report coincides with another election poll released earlier this year by polling company, Marketing Means, which revealed a large swing to the Green Party in March this year. However, while previous voter intention surveys such as Market Means have indicated the Green vote is increasing, the new ComRes report which came out on the 16th October 2011 proves that the Green Party is now a real alternative for traditionally Liberal Democrat voters.

Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party recently called on disaffected Liberal Democrats to look to the Greens, saying:

“I have a special message for those Lib Dem supporters who are beginning to despair of the path their leadership has taken them down. If you became involved in politics to serve your local community, to protect the environment, or to challenge inequality, then join us.”

The ComRes report coincides with another election poll released in March this year by polling company, Marketing Means which revealed a large swing to the Green Party.

The report shows when asked if voting were compulsory, 7% of those asked would vote Green, where only 6% would vote Lib Dem. The same question indicated a decrease in support for the Conservative Party, with 15% choosing Labour compared to 13% saying they would probably vote Conservative.

COALITION GOVERNMENT DOES U-TURN ON THE U-TURN

April 20, 2011

Defra recently announced that the plan to sell off 15% of England’s public forest – started under the last government, and which was never subject to consultation but merely postponed – is to go ahead within the span of the spending review. This means that 40,000 hectares will be sold within the next four years, with no genuine guarantee on the future of England’s remaining 218,000 hectares.

The coalition’s apparent u-turn on the forestry sale was heralded as a victory of people power, with Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman apologising in the House of Commons, saying “I am sorry, we got this one wrong – but we have listened to people’s concerns”.  While campaigners were rightly proud that the government seemed to have listened to them, the fight is far from over.

This recent announcement, quietly slipped out, unmasks the ‘u-turn’ as a mere stunt. The future of our forest is far from secure. People value and enjoy English woodland, which is an important part of our heritage. They want forests to be sustainably managed in the interests of biodiversity and climate protection, and they do not want their right of access to be removed or obstructed.

Penny Kemp, Green Party Environment spokesperson said, “Yet again, we see the true colours of this Coalition Government. They seem incapable of being truthful with the public. This latest u-turn on a u-turn is being done by stealth. Far from listening to the concerns of the public, they are treating them with contempt. The public made it quite clear that they considered a 30p investment by all to keep Britains forests in public ownership is tremendous value for money.”

The Green Party believes that our forests should remain in public ownership. We want to work with the Forestry Commission to improve environmental stewardship of natural spaces, striking the right balance between public education, enjoyment, and preserving forests as a haven for wildlife.

March for the Alternative. 26th March London 2011

March 28, 2011

It was an overcast day as we left Wellingborough by coach to go to London for the Anti-Cuts Protests. There were four coaches in our group from this area in Northamptonshire and although the day was cloudy, our attitudes were determined and positive.

The ride to Wembley was short, only an hour and a half and to my surprise there were twenty coaches already parked by 9.30.a/m. After disembarking we strolled to the nearby tube station to be met by crowds of people queuing for their tickets, where police were handing out advice leaflets for the day. There were four ticket offices open and the free standing machines but, the queues were getting longer and longer.

Suddenly the loud speaker interrupted the sociable chatting to bark “Please move onto the station to catch your trains and buy your tickets at your destination.”

As we were near the front of the queue, we quickly purchased our tickets, then followed the banners, balloons and placards and were on our way. We chose to go to Westminster tube station after being told the Embankment may be closed then, as there was no sign that the march had started as planned at 11a/m, we decided to stop for some coffee.

The event was very well organised plenty of stewards and policemen to ask for directions where to join the march.

It started at 12 noon and was well attended, folk blowing whistles, children with hooters and a Caribbean Steel band, some musicians dancing, whilst they played their instruments. There were members from every walk of life, from the TUC, Unite, Unison, Fire Brigade and the Prison Service.

Placards of every shape size and colour, they messages as diverse.

“Hands off our pensions”

“You’ve had your education David, I want mine!”

“No cuts just cut the coalition!”

“What parliament does the streets can undo.”

“Save our English Classes.” “Give our children a future.”

“Con/Dem GO NOW” “Cut Trident Not NHS”

“A Million jobs now.” One that made me smile was a photo of Samantha Cameron and “You’re not the only one David is screwing!” “Students and schools have been Con-Dem’d”

“Fight all cuts” “Cut warfare not welfare”

“Bankers greed or peoples needs”

“Silence is consent. Be silent no more.”

“People over profit” “Coalition-Demolition”

Walkers of every age group, from young mums with babes in buggies, children, students through to OAPs. Also there were people in wheelchairs and folk struggling to walk with sticks, all with the same aim. Reputedly, 8 coaches of policemen came from up north, experiencing the same cuts and redundancies. When a policeman was asked how many were marching he said 660,000.

We met protesters from Cornwall, Belfast, Wales and Scotland.

We all progressed slowly to Trafalgar Square where I spotted Ken Livingstone wearing a light suit, a smile on his face and happy to shake the hands of those who asked.

Also there, I spied a Buddhist Monk wearing his saffron robe, serving vegetarian curry from a heated device attached to his bicycle. This was in sharp contrast I felt, incongruous with so many with their I.Pods. The atmosphere was light hearted the policeman smiling.

There were several factors why we chose to go

1 Why are the tax loop holes not being closed and the unfairness of the banker’s bonuses?

This ditty has gone on Twitter

If the bankers bonuses make you sore

Have your sweet revenge within the law

Withdraw you money to make them poor

Bank with Coop or Triodos for evermore.

2 Belgium is currently without parliament or P/M but hasn’t come to a standstill.

3 I feel MPs should take a 10% drop in salary.

4 How can the cabinet most of who are millionaires begin to understand the problems of folk earning £5.80 per hour?

5 Re health cuts some of these mothers are just bumping along the bottom, getting through day to day. Two with ADHD children, have already committed suicide from the Northampton area, as they cannot take any more hassle.

Ryta Lyndley – Green Candidate in Raunds

A budget for bankers

March 23, 2011

Caroline Lucas today branded the Chancellor’s statement “a budget for bankers,” saying it put the interests of international finance and big business above those of ordinary people or the environment.

“George Osborne has made cutting the deficit his one and only goal. This may please City bankers and international investors, but it means more unemployment, greater poverty, and decimated public services.

“It is also a huge missed opportunity to turn our environmental and energy crisis into an engine for a sustainable future. Investing in energy efficiency and renewables now would stabilise the economy, help people reduce their bills, help end fuel poverty and make us less dependent on oil and gas from overseas.

“Instead, the Government is cutting support for UK companies trying to lead this energy revolution, even though it has found £5 billion in tax cuts for biggest companies.(1)

“It has also turned the much-hyped Green Investment Bank into a PR stunt by preventing it from raising funds.” (2)

The Green Party’s alternative budget called for:

• support for the development of a sustainable economy in place of unsustainable growth,

• a crack-down on tax evasion and avoidance, with banks and corporations paying their full share,

• the extra revenue used to support public services, in place of cuts.

Caroline Lucas continued: “The Government’s budget plans are not the only option, despite Osborne’s claims. A combination of intelligent investment and reduced tax avoidance could have provided financial stability and also avoided job losses and service cuts. He and his Conservative and Liberal Democrat colleagues have instead chosen to follow the bankers’ agenda of cutting public services as deeply as possible while privatizing what is left.

“The Chancellor says there is no money to protect services such as schools, libraries and hospitals. But he can find the £3 billion it will cost to break up the NHS ready for privatization (3) or the £3.6 billion in extra subsidy for the nuclear industry. (4)

“Further, the Office of Budget Responsibility has predicted that the borrowing requirement this year will be £2.5 billion less than expected. (5)

“But instead of using at least a proportion of this to avoid some of the worst of the planned cuts, he is holding it back – presumably to fund tax cuts ahead of the next election.

Notes

1) The Treasury’s own projections are that the reductions in Corporation Tax announced in the June 2010 and today’s budgets will reach £5.175 billion a year by 2015/16. See pages 42 and 44 of the Red Book.

2) The Green Investment Bank will not be able to raise funds until 2015 and then only if other fiscal targets are met: Red Book 1.112 (page 33)

3) Professor Walsh in the British Medical Journal: July 2010

4) £3.43 billion is the estimated windfall gain for the UK nuclear industry from the introduction of a carbon floor price: source WWF