Summer 2014 | 47 Edition Published by Brighton & Hove Green Party
Brighton tops seaside resort poll
Valley Gardens to be transformed into a living tree library
Taxing Tesco: indie shops gain by supermarket levy
My mum counts: arcane marriage rules must change
!City roads safer under ! !
GREENLEAF A place to call home ! ! ! ! ! ! !
!Have your say about tackling the city’s housing crisis, says Caroline Lucas ! ! ! ! Caroline Lucas MP meets Brighton residents to discuss housing.
!This month Caroline Lucas
launched her draft Housing !Charter, with recommendations based upon her work as our local MP supporting people !with their housing related problems and identifying
solutions. The Charter includes measures to improve the situation for “Generation Rent” – people living in the private rented sector – as the number of private tenants in Brighton Pavilion is
twice the national average. From casework and advice surgeriesit’s all too clear that many residents are in a desperate situation in terms of their housing. Some are in cold, damp rented accommodation, but don’t want to raise concerns with their landlord for fear of eviction. Or there’s the single mum from Hollingdean who said: “I am not sure what to do when I am qualified – I will be a nurse, working in Brighton, who can’t afford to live here.” And Caroline’s heard from one family worried about their children having to change schools because an unexpected rent increase meant they could no longer afford to live in their
home. Her Charter includes the provision for good tenants to have the choice of a five-year stable rental contract as standard – providing individuals and families with much greater stability. Residents also told her that they want rent levels to be fairer. It costs around £1,545 per month for a three bedroomed house in Brighton – that’s twice the national average. If you want to buy, it will also cost you roughly double the national norm. Too many people are being priced out of their home city. She backs the idea of smart rent controls, where rent can’t rise faster than inflation. This would
Save our services
Keeping our libraries open, providing youth services and sports !facilities; making sure our playgrounds are safe for children, and are well cared for; looking !parks after homeless people: all these plus development and environhealth represent the scale !mental of budget cuts that are under threat if the city council opposi!tion parties have their way. Thanks to Government cuts of £18 million as part of the Coali!tion’s brutal cuts agenda, and
growing pressure on services, Brighton & Hove City Council faces a budget shortfall of some £25 million for the coming year, which is exactly the sum spent on the services mentioned above. Coalition cuts are forcing councils across the country into a situation where essential services can no longer be protected. Brighton and Hove City Council’s minority Green Administration is committed to ensuring they can continue to provide
essential services for everyone. As part of plans to address the council’s intense budget pressures, the Greens have proposed a council tax rise of 5.9% to help protect essential public services needed by the city’s population, equivalent to £1.32 extra per week for a band C household Under government rules this would require a referendum of Brighton & Hove residents. Cont page 9
Campaigning for fair rents.
"I am calling for the establishment of a Living Rent Commission." help tenants and landlords plan ahead. But she wants to go further, too – because rent levels are already too high. Caroline said: “I am calling for the establishment of a Living Rent Commission: Greens led the way on the Living Wage and we are doing the same when it comes to fair rent. “For many of the city’s private renters, what they really need is access to social, or council, housing, so there are measures in my Charter that also address supply.” How do we pay for the increase in affordable housing? To read more go to p9
Council spending on playgrounds threatened by Tory cuts
To have your say the draft charter is on her website www. carolinelucas.com – so do have a look and let her know what you think
2 | Greenleaf Summer 2014
City News Top seaside resort
|city goes from strength to strength under Greens
Brighton & Hove attracted 50,000 more overnight tourists last year and is now the eighth most popular city destination in the UK. Statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that 409,000 visitors chose the city for a stay of at least one night in 2013 - up by more than 50,000 from 2012. The city retains its place as the top seaside resort for
overnight stays. Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council Jason Kitcat said: “Strengthening our position and retaining the mantle of top seaside resort in the UK for overnight stays is terrific news for everyone in the city, its businesses and workers.” Since the Greens have run Brighton the ‘over night stay’ figures have gone from 304,000 in 2011 to 409,000 in 2014.
Top: the current route in to Brighton and under: the proposed changes
Greens have won funding for an environmental transformation of the tangled transport route into central Brighton. The cost will be covered from a regional fund designed to improve the economy. The city council has agreed the uplifting vision for Valley Gardens, from The Level to the seafront. It includes planting hundreds of trees, improving green spaces, simplifying the complex traffic system and improving journeys for cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians. This regional growth fund, aimed at boosting business, has
already agreed in principle to £8m funding for Valley Gardens. In addition it has recently announced another £6m for the project to complete the link to the seafront and allow the council to tackle The Aquarium roundabout - the most hazardous junction in the city. The council has checked the figures using strict government criteria and believes the financial benefits come to at least £39 million over the next twenty years. In addition to financial gains, other benefits would include improved ecology and new tree planting. Final approval is expected in the autumn. The improvements would take place mid 2015 to early 2017. Chair of the environment committee Cllr Pete West said: “Valley Gardens is a terrible tangle and presents a poor introduction to the city. It has long been an aspiration of the city to improve this and I am so pleased we are now in a position to do just that. This scheme could give us a lovely large new park, faster journeys and effectively earn the city nearly £40m in various benefits.”
Re-elected Keith Taylor, MEP
Euro poll success bodes well for Brighton Green MP May’s European elections were the largest test of public opinion since the 2010 general election and brought hopeful news for the Greens, re-electing Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, and suggesting that Caroline Lucas can be optimistic about the general election next year. As the Brighton and Hove Independent reported: “Caroline Lucas is on track to hold Brighton Pavilion [constituency] at the next general election, with nearly one in three voters (32.3%) supporting the
Green Party.... up to four in 10 voters support her party in the constituency; the Labour Party is in second place, with just over a quarter (26.5%) of votes cast.” Additionally, a constituencyspecific poll by the Conservative Lord Ashcroft showed Greens and Labour neck-and-neck in Brighton Pavilion constituency using a poll method that is likely to have under-estimated Green support. Adam McGibbon, Caroline Lucas’ campaign manager, said, “While we never take votes for granted, there is evidence
City roads safer | Casualties down 18.3% under Green administration – Road deaths have dipped by 63% from 2010 to last year Road casualties have dropped in Brighton and Hove for the third year running. The latest drop shows Green Party transport policies are saving lives and making Brighton and Hove a safer place. The statistics from the Dept for Transport show there were 908 casualties in Brighton and Hove in 2013. In 2010, the year before the Greens took control of the council, there were 1,111 casualties. Road deaths have been reduced by 63% from 2010 to last year.
that Caroline has established an excellent reputation as a local MP and has shown she can help make a difference to people, with her strong, gutsy, trailblazing way of standing up for what matters.” Adam added, “The Ashcoft poll is especially encouraging when one considers that the pollsters initially asked whether people would vote Conservative, Labour, LibDem, Ukip or ‘Other’. Statisticians have told us that, if prompted alongside the other parties, Green support is likely to appear much higher.” roads of this city in 2013 than in 2010. Surely this is something that we can all welcome? “It shows that bold Green policies such as 20 mph are achieving their purpose: to make the city a safer place in which to live, work and visit. It vindicates our policy against all those critics and opposition parties who have tried to put obstacles in the way.”
Councillor Ian Davey, the council’s lead member for transport, said: “When we came into administration, Brighton and Hove had one of the worst road safety records in the country; now, thanks in part to our traffic calming and speed reduction measures, we have seen a dramatic fall in the number of people getting killed and injured on our roads. “The number of casualties have now fallen for the third year in a row with 200 fewer people killed and injured on the
Improvements to bus lanes are part of the Greens road safety strategy
Over 3 million people currently juggle work and care for older, ill or disabled relatives or loved ones. Research by Carers UK shows that 2 million people have had to leave work in order to care for someone, at an estimated £5.3 billion a year cost to the economy. Caroline, who as well as being MP for Brighton Pavilion is patron of the Brighton Carers Centre, said: “Carers provide crucial support for loved ones –
sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances. It’s absolutely essential they get the help they need and deserve. “It cannot remain the case that people could be threatened with unemployment in order to care for their loved ones. “Around the world, countries have addressed this issue and introduced policies and legislation to protect and support working carers. Britain is lagging behind and we need to catch up quick.”
Poppies in bloom Wild flowers were planted by the Greens to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914. The beautiful display in Preston Park. are pictured here.
Fair care Carers in Britain should have the legal right to paid work leave, Caroline Lucas has told the Government. Caroline has called on the Department of Health to introduce the legal right to at least five days’ paid care leave. She has also called for a Parliamentary debate on the right to longer periods of leave to care for disabled, older and seriously or terminally ill loved ones.
3 | Greenleaf Summer 2014
Hands off Hove Park Photo: James McDonald email@example.com
Robin Hinks has been catching up with the parents, carers and teachers fighting to keep Hove Park School a community-coordinated School.
Rated as one of the most improved schools in the country, Hove Park should have been celebrating this year. However, at Easter the school’s senior leadership announced that it wanted to convert to an Academy status school when students return from the upcoming summer break. This leadership appears
Caroline campaigns for Hove Park
intent on forcing through these changes without the approval of the wider community, but parents, carers, students and teachers are fighting back. The Green Party supports their efforts. Quickly forming the Hands Off Hove Park School (HoHPS)
campaign, the school’s parents and carers have become the plan’s loudest opponents. They argue that if Brighton & Hove’s education system is fragmented into self-governing Academies – removed from democratic accountability and oversight – the local council will permanently lose the ability to coordinate education strategies and encourage collaboration between schools. Also, with Academies allowed to set their own admissions criteria and given a free hand over exclusions, the highly questionable evidence regarding Academies’ effectiveness has been exaggerated at the expense of society’s most vulnerable. Backed with these arguments, and many more, HoHPS has won some sizeable victories. HoHPS and the local authority have pressured the school into increasing its number of
On the move Unauthorised Gypsy & Traveller encampments have appeared across the city this summer. Rebecca Duffy investigates According to official statistics, the vast majority of transit pitches in the South East are concentrated in Brighton & Hove. In other words, our city is shouldering the vast majority of the region’s needs. This has been an issue in the city for many years, and one that has been exacerbated since 1994 when the Government scrapped the requirements on all local authorities to provide authorised sites. “That needs to change,“ says Caroline Lucas. “We need a stat-
utory duty on all local authorities to provide sites for Gypsies and Travellers, so the responsibility is more equally spread. “We also need to provide more permanent pitches – a principle that has long been supported by all three political parties, who have acknowledged that it would help address the problems of unauthorised encampments,” added Councillor Pete West, chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee.
Caroline Lucas continued: “While the city’s strategy for Gypsies and Travellers is the responsibility of the Council, as a local MP, I fully sympathise with many people’s deep concerns around unauthorised encampments in Brighton & Hove, and continue to lobby the Government to take the necessary steps for a lasting solution.” The development of 12 new traveller pitches at Horsdean, just to the north of the A27 bypass, had been approved by the South Downs National Park Au-
parent-governors, as the school had previously failed to hold elections for three vacant posts on its Board of Governors. With governor-elections underway, this new intake might alter the leadership’s plans: while the school’s Headteacher had originally wanted pupils to return from their summer breaks to an Academy, a significantly more parent oriented Board of Governors is now required to vote on the proposals on the 22nd of September. This gives the City’s residents time to make their voices heard. In addition, and on the back of the HoHPS campaign, Brighton & Hove Council provided funding for the recent ballot of current parents’ views on the proposals. While not legally binding, this gave the school’s parents one thing its leadership was not prepared to: a proper consultation on their children’s
thority in February 2014. However, they were put on hold by Eric Pickles, until this June. Cllr Pete West (pictured right) said: “Pickles had put the brakes on this. Thank goodness we can now get with building these much needed additional traveller pitches.” The new pitches will provide for members of the travelling community who have ties to the city, who currently have no option but to use transit pitches, which lack proper facilities, or go elsewhere. The development will also free up more of the transit pitches for temporary stays. As well as the twelve new residences for caravans or mobile homes, 21 short term pitches will be retained, allowing travellers to stop for up to three
Above Rob Johnson and Cllr Sue Shanks
future. The ballot showed 71% of parents are opposed to the idea. Proposing this ballot – a motion Tory Councillors opposed – Green Councillor Sue Shanks said “Academy status is no guarantee of better results or facilities for children... schools are most likely to improve when they are part of a local authority family, sharing best practice and training”. Continued page 10
Above Horsdean Site Above Left Cllr Pete West
months. All tenants will have to sign a lease and like all other council tenants, all the residents will be responsible for rent, bills and council tax. Continued page 10
Your Green Councillors Brunswick & Adelaide
Phelim MacCafferty Tel: 291357 @Phelimmac Ollie Sykes Tel: 291413
Christopher Hawtree Tel: 291144 @chrishawtree
Goldsmid Ruth Buckley Tel: 291135 Rob Jarrett Tel: 291148 Alexandra Phillips Tel: 294539 @alexforgoldsmid
Brighton and Hove’s Green councillors are here to help you on issues that concern you most. You can follow some on Twitter, too. For more information on councillors, visit www.brightonhovegreens.org To email a councillor, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 | Greenleaf Summer 2014
Fair Pay campaign Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, met with NHS staff at the Royal Sussex Hospital. Nurses and health care support workers have been told they won’t be getting their expected 1% cost of living increase. The Government has argued that the raise is unaffordable. Yet last year the NHS in England underspent by £3bn, funds which went straight back to the Treasury. That’s why Caroline has been supporting the Royal College of Nursing’s campaign for fair pay. “The commitment that our nursing staff and health care
Green councillors on Brighton & Hove City Council are calling for an end to the bar against gay and bisexual men donating blood within 12 months of sexual activity. In 2011 a lifetime ban on donating blood by gay and bisexual men was lifted in most of the UK (except Northern Ireland); however any man who has had sex with another man within the last year is not permitted to donate blood. To coincide with World Blood Donor Day, Green councillors tabled a motion at the following city council meeting urging
workers continue to show to their profession is amazing,” she said. “They work incredibly hard and provide the public with crucial services. Yet many struggle to make ends-meet. “The Government is sending out a very clear message - that they don’t value our NHS staff at all. The public deserves a quality NHS - and staff deserve to be properly valued and rewarded for the vital work they do.” photo: WHO/O. O’Hanlon
the Government to change the rules. This motion was passed by a majority vote. The time it takes for tests to show whether someone is infected with HIV and most other serious blood-borne infections is now three months and for Hepatitis C is six months, so infection is detectable much earlier than 12 months. Green Councillor Alexandra Phillips who along with Cllr Mike Jones (both pictured above right) proposed the motion, said, “We welcome the 2011 change lifting the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men
donating blood but it doesn’t go far enough to end discrimination and help the supply of safe blood. “The current rules are still discriminatory and are not backed by logical analysis of risk. Good science would support a six month window before donating blood after a possible risk, for all donors, on the basis that tests for HIV and Hepatitis C can detect infection within that time. “The health service desperately needs safe blood donations, but this discrimination bars perfectly healthy men from helping to save lives. “It is possible to have a safe donor system based on the prevention of harm yet which does not discriminate. “Anyone wanting to donate blood should be asked the same basic questions irrespective of their sexual orientation.” Continued p 11
Live in east Brighton? Meet your Green MP candidate Davy Jones is the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate for the Brighton Kemptown constituency, Brighton Kemptown constituency starts at the Palace Pier, goes all along the coast through Kemptown itself, past the Marina to Ovingdean, Rottingdean, Saltdean, Telscombe & Peacehaven. It also includes Moulsecoomb, Queens Park, Whitehawk & Woodingdean. Davy explains: “I grew up in Saltdean as a teenager, and moved back to Brighton 11 years ago. “ “I worked at a senior level for the Audit Commission and in local government. Now I help local people get more involved in decisions about their communities. I also teach yoga parttime and have been instrumen-
tal in organising the first ever Brighton Yoga Festival in Kemptown at the end of July. I also host the Politics Show on Radio Free Brighton. “I am very involved in the campaigns against fracking across Sussex and against the proposed housing development at Meadow Vale, Ovingdean. “I’m also very active supporting local people affected by the drastic cuts in public services and in benefits. I’m particularly concerned about how young people are impacted. “People are appalled at how similar all the main political parties are: they feel there is no choice - ‘they are all the same.’ No wonder so many people are angry about politicians who break their promises and don’t listen to people (like the Lib-
Dems on tuition fees. the Tories on the NHS, and of course Labour on Iraq). “Well, I am different. I will listen and I will say what I think and do what I promise. “ “Brighton already has one fantastic Green MP - what a breath of fresh air she has been! With your help, I could be another effective campaigner and the second Green MP - for the east of Brighton in Kemptown constituency.” Email: info@davyjones4 kemptown.org.uk/ Web: www.davyjones4kemptown.org.uk Twitter: @davyjones4ktown Facebook: www.facebook.com/ Davyjones4kemptown
Greens call to end discriminatory blood donor rules against gay men
5 | Greenleaf Summer 2014
Greens call for community action to make big retailers support small shops Our independent shops are the lifeblood of our city. They provide more employment than supermarkets, give us a quirky edge drawing in tourists and visitors, and also provide a sense of community. Yet business rates are unfairly biased against small shops and when faced also with high rents and the recent recession, many are struggling to survive. This is why in June Brighton & Hove City Council adopted a Green proposal to join the national
pliers, or to local accountants. In contrast research suggests that 95% of the money spent in large shops is siphoned away to head office and shareholders. The government has ruled out reviewing nationally-set business rates for another three years - even though according to The Federation of Small Businesses business rates are five times more expensive for small businesses as a proportion of turnover than they are for large companies.
campaign by councils to introduce a ‘supermarket levy’. This campaign is asking for the government to give councils the power to rebalance their local economy by taxing bigger shops to better support smaller ones. Research shows that money spent in local and independent shops is worth many times more to the local economy, as it is respent locally by shop-owners – whether in wages to local people, in contracts with local sup-
Council leader Jason Kitcat, who proposed the motion said: “I’m delighted that our proposal to join this campaign has been supported. Even a tiny levy on large retail outlets such as supermarkets would really help us rebalance a national system that unfairly favours larger retailers. “In the spirit of localism, I hope the government
“Even a tiny levy on large retailer outlets such as supermarkets would really help us rebalance a national system that unfairly favours larger retailers.”
listens to councils and communities and gives us the flexibility to support smaller shops and our local economy.” There is overwhelming evidence that large retailers have a detrimental impact on the economic, social and environmental well-being of communities. Whilst popular opinion is often that large shops increase employment the evidence shows the exact opposite is true. The report ‘High Street Britain: 2015’ found that over 3 million people were employed in retail, which is one in nine of all jobs. It showed small, family owned retail businesses, such as those in Brighton’s newly opened Open Market pictured below, create more jobs, in terms of sales, than the big stores. 2004 figures
show that convenience stores only took £42,000 worth of turnover to create a job. Superstores, on the other hand, took on average £95,000 to do the same. Tesco, with a £29bn turnover,
employed 250,000 people while small grocery shops, turning over £21 bn, employed double that. Read more about Local Works here.
It’s a horse’s life under Tory and Labour Leading animal welfare charity backs consultation on ending use of animals in circuses Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International, yesterday wrote to Green councillors, lending support to their request for a public consultation on banning the use of performing horses in the city’s circuses. Green councillors had requested public consultation to gauge public concern over the issue; however, Labour and Conservative councillors voted against the proposal calling it “nonsense” and arguing the public shouldn’t have their say. Campaigners on the issue have argued that circuses often travel, meaning that horses are kept in rudimentary housing or trailers which cannot meet their most basic welfare needs and don’t allow them the freedom to exercise Ms Creamer of Animal Defenders International said: “Like wild animals, horses and other domestic animals suffer in the circus. Animal Defenders International has documented circus horses and ponies in the UK exhibiting abnormal behaviours, kept on transporters for excessive periods of time, and subject-
ed to violence and force to make them perform tricks. Many local authorities have banned such acts and we support the Brighton & Hove Green Councillors in their efforts to stop circus suffering on council-owned land.” Councillor Pete West, Chair of Environment, Transport and Sustainability said: “I am very disappointed that the opposition wouldn’t give the public the opportunity to say if they think the use of performing horses and ponies in circuses is appropriate. I call on the other parties to rethink their position.” cont...
Your Green Councillors Hanover & Elm Grove Bill Randall Tel: 294366 @BillRandallBHCC Liz Wakefield Tel: 291423 @LizGreenB
Hollingdean & Stanmer Sven Rufus Tel: 296429 @SvenRufus
Withdean Sue Shanks Tel: 291410
Brighton and Hove’s Green councillors are here to help you on issues that concern you most. You can follow some on Twitter, too.
Mike Jones Tel: 291149 Amy Kennedy Tel: 296445 Leo Littman Tel: 291152
For more information on councillors, visit www.brightonhovegreens.org To email a councillor, write to: email@example.com
6 | Greenleaf Summer 2014
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Green electricity supplier Ecotricity are making it even easier to run an electric car Green electricity supplier Ecotricity has not stopped with generating and supplying a sustainable fuel source. Ecotricity is now kickstarting the uptake of electric cars in the UK with its ‘Electric Highway’.
Ecotricity founder Dale Vince set out to eliminate one of the biggest barriers to uptake of electric cars by creating a new ‘Electric Highway’ of extensive charging points across Britain. This network, placed across the UK motorway system, has dramatically extended the geo-
graphical reach of electric vehicles. In the last 12 months electric cars have clocked up more than half a million miles using the Electric Highway, and Ecotricity expects at least another million miles of clean driving in the next year. To meet the growing demand for fast charging points, Ecotricity has committed to installing them at every motorway service station in Britain by the end of 2014, enabling drivers to fully charge their vehicles in 20-30 minutes, as well as doubling the numbers of chargers at each location. In addition, the enterprise is rolling out new technology to cater for all electrical charging standards, allowing a range of new models to use the network. Electric Highway was also selected from over 100 sustainable travel projects in the UK, France
and Belgium to win the 2014 Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel . The joint winners were selected for their successful and innovative sustainable travel projects, and will share £30,000 in prize money to invest in expanding the reach of their schemes. Dale Vince, added: “With the Electric Highway, we’ve put the infrastructure in place so that electric vehicles become a logical choice for drivers in Britain. More and more people are now going electric, and awards like Ashden are a great way of getting the message out further.” To find out more or to switch to Ecotricity go to www. ecotricity.com or call free on 08000 302302
Ecotrocity founder and MD Dale Vince and Robert Llewellyn (actor and EV enthusiast) at a charge point.
7 | Greenleaf Summer 2014
Mum’s the word The Borrowers Caroline Lucas’s latest work in parliament highlights how women have been written out of history It’s become Parliament’s ‘most signed’ Early Day Motion, supported by more than 100 crossparty MPs – but what’s all the fuss about getting mums on marriage certificates? *Sarah is close to both of her parents. “If anything,” she says, “my mother has played a larger role in influencing the person I am today and the person my partner will be marrying. So I feel both of my parents should feature on my marriage certificate. But as the law stands, the women in Sarah’s life will have no mention on her wedding certificate. Details of her father and father-in-law, however, must be entered. *Anne is equally dismayed: “I have two sons and two daughters,” she says. “I don’t want to be wiped from their history on one of the most important days of their lives.” They’re far from alone. Both women were writing in support of a growing petition, supported by Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, calling for marriage certificates to comply with the Equality Act by including mothers’ names. Currently the
certificates – for opposite and same sex marriages alike – only include room for fathers’ names. However civil partnership certificates include space for the names of both parents.
“This is important because my mum is important.” “Seeing my mother’s and mother-in-law’s names missing from my wedding certificate really struck me,” says the petition’s founder, Ailsa Burkimsher Sadler. “It really offended my sense of justice - it meant women were being written out of history.” Ailsa’s petition has now secured almost 70,000 signatories. Many have included why the cause matters to them. “I didn’t really have any expectations,” she says. “I just wanted to generate enough consternation so the Home Office had to sit up and pay attention.” In support, Caroline Lucas MP tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament, pressuring the Home Office to make history and change the laws. She
has also requested that mothers’ names be permitted to be added retrospectively to existing marriage certificates. “It beggars belief that current regulations mean it’s still the case that a marriage certificate must include details of the father but not the mother of the bride and groom,” says Caroline. “Our law should not perpetuate the grossly outdated message that marriage should be seen as a business transaction between the father of the bride and the father of the groom. “That’s why I’ve called on the Home Secretary to change this law without delay and allow people to recognise the importance of mothers on their marriage certificates.” Cllr Ruth Buckley and Cllr Liz Wakefield added: “Women are routinely written out of history - a hangover from when women were the property of men. We support a fair society for all and fully applaud this campaign.” The Home Office is currently considering the proposals. You can sign Ailsa’s petition, and read the stories, here.: Story continued p 11
From vegetable patches to cars, bicycles to lawnmowers, David Walker finds out about the trailblazing Brightonians who are discovering sharing is the new giving
Cllr Ian Davey tries out the new bike share system in Slough
The new buzzword in Green circles is “collaborative consumption.” Brighton and Hove is leading the way to a more positive future with the boom of sharing schemes, for anyone with not enough space or who craves a feel of community and a quality of life that doesn’t mean running ever faster on a treadmill just to keep up. People are sharing tools with neighbours and fellow allotmenteers. Canny party animals have long been hiring dresses to avoid the expense and waste of never being caught in the same dress twice. Online letting agency Airbnb has boosted the ease with which we can even share our bedroom. Sharing brings people together and reduces harm to the environment. Sharing can stretch a family’s budget, provide a warmth of belonging and an opportunity to engage without a computer. The Brighton and Hove Food Partnership is trail-blazing a way forwards with food. It support sharing gardens to grow and harvest local food and has established a local orchard with sharing time and effort at the heart. There’s no need to work extra, adding to pollution, to pay for food from across the world when you can grow it in your neighbour’s garden.
Gleaning Network UK coordinates teams of volunteers, local farmers and food redistribution charities to salvage fresh, nutritious unarvested food and direct it to those that need it most Our local artists regularly share their talents, adding to the aesthetic pleasure of walks down the city’s lanes, and even drawing in tourists to see them. From sharing driveways to giving lifts or taking it in turns to drive, we often do it naturally with our colleagues and friends. There’s also a busy City Car Club – a car share scheme – which has seen membership soar with over 3400 members and 85 vehicles across the city - rapidly approaching its target of 100 vehicles which includes vans and hybrid cars. Building on the success of London and Paris bike share schemes, more cities are developing the cycling habit. Madrid, New York, Glasgow, Bath and Slough are some of the schemes that have been launched over the last year. Is the time right for us to be bike sharing? The challenge is how to come up with a system that isn’t over dependent on ongoing public money. Green councillors are talking to potential partners to do just that. StreetBank is an online toolsharing website started when two Londoners kept borrowing each others stuff, replacing the idea of possessions with the more collaborative concept of shared tools. StreetBank now has 15000 members, with a strong and growing community in Brighton. B&H Food Partnership, tel: 01273 431700, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. uk, www.feeding5k.org/gleaning Car Club: 0845 330 1234 www.citycarclub.co.uk/brighton www.streetbank.com/
Your Green Councillors Queen’s Park @QueensParkGreen
St Peter’s & North Laine
Brighton and Hove’s Green councillors are here to help you on issues that concern you most. You can follow some on Twitter, too.
Geoffrey Bowden Tel: 291986 @The SussexSquare
Ania KitcatTel: 296447
Ian Davey Tel: 296430 Lizzie Deane Tel: 291138 Pete West Tel: 296431
For more information on councillors, visit www.brightonhovegreens.org To email a councillor, write to: email@example.com
Stephanie Powell Tel: 291156
Jason Kitcat Tel: 291011 @jasonkitcat
8 | Greenleaf Summer 2014
Caroline Lucas writes…
r o f p u g n standmi atters what
Better buses, fairer fares
ro # vote ca
As a city MP, why I continue to campaign to improve bus services for all…
This July I pressed the Government to reverse its devastating spending cuts to bus services. The cost of bus services
continues to rise. In a bid to ensure lower fares and improved services locally and around the country, I tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament
calling on the Government to consider regulating bus services, or placing them into public ownership. Passengers in England outside of London have been hit with a 39.6% real terms fare rise since 1995 and the move would protect users from unregulated fare hikes. With my assistance, students from the University of Sussex recently celebrated a successful call for fairer fares on local buses. At a round table meeting which I arranged, the students and I met with Bus chief Martin Harris to negotiate an array of improvements to local services. Among other things it will see complimentary tickets issued to students in need of welfare assistance; a review of ‘season tickets’ to fit with term dates; discounted day tickets and a review of routes and
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additional services. It’s fantastic that the company has listened to the students. As a regular bus user I hope this will be an ongoing conversation and lead to further improvements to the city’s bus services. Sophie van der Ham, Welfare Officer at the University of Sussex Student Union, said: “I’m really glad that Caroline’s been so proactive as MP on this and in helping to get the bus company to listen to us. There’s a real crisis of affordability for students in the city and many say bus fares are still too high. It’s been a really positive response so far but there’s still a lot to do.” Meanwhile, I’ve been taking up other cases in Brighton and Hove, such as pressing for improved timetables and lower prices for school bus services.
Want to get involved, find out more or join the campaign to re-elect Caroline? Here’s how to get in touch: www.carolinelucas.com facebook.com/ Carolinelucas.page @carolinelucas 01273 766 670 (local party office)
ADVERTISEMENT: INDEPENDENT NON-ALIGNED CAMPAIGN
NEW DEAL for Brighton & Hove The government is slashing the funding for local councils. Even with big efficiencies, you can only cut services so far before they fail, and lives are put at risk. This is a campaign for action that is possible NOW. No more time should be wasted. Government cuts have caused thousands of premature deaths across the country, whilst it is forever revealed the rich are paying less tax as a proportion of their growing income and wealth. We call for an immediate and urgent investigation into the available options to achieve fairer funding for the City of Brighton and Hove:
• Smaller Council Tax bills for the majority • Services protected and quality improved • Protection for those suffering government cuts • More affordable homes for residents • Paid for by bigger Council Tax bills for the most expensive houses To add your support for the campaign please visit www.newdeal4brightonhove.org Data suggests 93% of all properties in the city are valued below £600,000. The lowest valued properties pay proportionally on average 200% more in Council Tax than the top valued properties. With data suggesting the city has over 1,000 million-pound-plus properties, why not devise a system that collects a % above a threshold for the top 7% of properties using laws like the rich do, to save services and help the majority?
firstname.lastname@example.org https://twitter.com/newdeal4bh www.facebook.com/newdeal4brightonhove The campaign has been setup by three members of the Brighton People’s Assembly(www.brightonpa.org.uk): an accountant, a university lecturer and a union’s policy officer.
9 | Greenleaf Summer 2014
Save our services continued from page 1 To save costs a referendum would be held on the same day as elections already planned for May 2015. 5.9% increase is equivalent to £1.48 extra per week for a band D household. This is 99p more per week than the 1.9% default increase assumed to be Labour’s preference. Brighton and Hove Green Council Administration say: “Without a council tax rise, further Government cuts will push Brighton and Hove to breaking point” There will continue to be a council tax reduction scheme in place to support the 17,000 households with the lowest incomes Leader of the Council, Jason Kitcat said: “This coming year we face the biggest cuts to the council budget so far in this Government’s relentless austerity programme. Council budgets have unfairly borne the brunt of the government’s cuts. Still we are com-
mitted to delivering essential public services for our citizens. However to do this we do need to raise council tax to ensure those services can keep going as demand continues to grow while budgets shrink. ” Chair of Children and Young Peoples Committee, Sue Shanks commented: “The council has a responsibility to the children of Brighton and Hove, to ensure that they are given the very best start in life. Child poverty is increasing under this government and council services such as children’s centres, youth services and libraries provide an important lifeline for families. We want to ensure these valued services can keep delivering because every child matters.” Lead Member for Finance, Ollie Sykes said: “An increasing population and decreasing funding for councils will lead to an approximately £70m deficit in the council budget over the coming years unless we act. We must keep
finding ways to be more efficient and raise more income to keep up the level of essential services our citizens deserve. A council tax rise of 5.9% will bring in an extra £6 million. Money that can be spent on keeping open adult social care, disability services, parks, children’s services and women’s refuge centres.
Reckless Labour and Tory backing for previous tax freezes and against a referendum has lost city services over £10 million Greens are the only party committed to keeping public essential services running
“We very much hope that the Brighton and Hove Labour party will not use Tory rhetoric to try to block this proposal. It is the hard-working families they like to mention who, among others, are being penalised by these unfair government cuts. It would be great if Labour voted with us on this, to show that they really are committed to providing frontline services. If they had voted with us in previous years we could have had an extra £10 million to inject into public services. They have a chance now to show the people of Brighton and Hove that they care.” The budget reports can be viewed on the council’s website here: The decision being taken at July’s Policy & Resources Committee meeting is setting out the principles for the 2015/16 budget. Specific draft proposals will be worked on by council officers over the coming months, with a view to being published in early December 2014.
Council spending on parks are threatened by Tory cuts
A place to call home
If the Government lifts that cap – a move supported by the Local Government Association and the Chartered Institute for Housing (amongst others) – research shows that up to 230,000 new social homes could be built over five years. But we also need more money from the Government. At the moment it grants about 1bn a year for housing – this needs to be increased by at least another £1.2 billion a year if we are to begin to build the affordable homes we need. This money is available. The Government could source it from the windfall the Treasury expects from Stamp Duty Land Tax. We know that property prices have rocketed – and it means that as homes are sold for millions in the capital and for hundreds of thousands in Brighton and Hove, the Chancellor is raking in billions in Stamp Duty. Let’s recycle some of that to get new homes built and start tackling our city’s housing crisis. Everything in the Charter is based on the practical solutions that people have been telling me would make a real difference to their lives. It means housing that doesn’t bust budgets. Housing that lets people put down roots. Housing that meets the need for new homes. Housing that can be called home. The draft charter is on my website - so do have a look and let me know what you think www.carolinelucas.com
10 | Greenleaf Summer 2014
continued articles Hands off Hove Park
On the move
continued from page 3
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Shanks went on to argue that the Tories’ support for Academies ignores the biggest threats facing education today: “we need better resources for schools and support for teachers – which is exactly what the government is removing.” The school’s staff stand firmly behind the HoHPS campaign. Explaining why, one teacher told Greenleaf “there has been a complete lack of transparency and consultation with staff… [However] our priority is 100% the children. If there were any benefits for our students, we would all back the Academy, but there simply are not”. Instead, the Headteacher’s plans have reportedly harmed classroom dynamics, with many of the school’s “most ener-
getic teachers leaving or thinking about leaving because of impossible stress, management driven to distraction, and the student body becoming mere numbers in the eyes of the Headteacher.” Because of these concerns, and in spite of very real fears for their jobs – teachers report working in “a culture of fear, scared to speak out” – most agree that bold action is urgently called for: when the National Union of Teachers balloted its members at the school, around 80% of respondents voted in favour of industrial action, if needed, to oppose the plans. With this wave of opposition, the school’s leadership is facing an increasingly uphill challenge. But more action is needed. Natasha Steel of HoHPS is
asking all Brighton & Hove residents to write to the school, the local authority, the press and their elected representatives of all parties, to let them know the value of community-coordinated education. Most importantly, the fight does not have to end at Hove Park’s gates. Steel believes the campaign’s successes “offer hope and encouragement to others to stand up and resist undemocratic change and cuts to public services”: HoHPS has shown Michael Gove, David Cameron and the Coalition Government an alternative vision of ‘the Big Society’- it’s time for others to join in and do the same. To read more about the Hands off Hove Park Campaign you can go to their blog here.
Parking Pickle The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, has recently announced a ban on local councils using CCTV cameras to enforce parking fines. He claimed: “CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls.” Parking wardens will instead have to fix tickets directly on to windscreens. Whilst the ban was endorsed by motoring groups those in favour of safer streets for all were less enthusiastic. Lead councillor for transport Ian Davey said: “Again Mr Pickles is imposing his brand of “ Do as I say” localism on local councils. Brighton & Hove do not use so called ‘spy cameras’ we do however use CCTV enforcement on routes into and out of the city centre at peak times. They are a vital traffic management tool that are used responsibly to help keep traffic moving, reduce congestion, improve air quality and keep people safe. Double yellow lines are there for a reason. To encourage people to park on them is irresponsible and helps neither local businesses nor responsible motorists.”
The relationship between travellers and the surrounding community is often poorly understood. In some areas, such as London Borough of Lewisham, most of the known travelling community currently live in houses. The dire need for the site became only too clear recently. There has been confusion amongst locals as to when and why the police should act. Under the law, police eviction from unauthorised sites without a court order can only take place in certain circumstances. Caroline Lucas added “I have always made it clear that I utterly condemn any kind of violence, harassment, anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and rubbish-leaving whoever commits it – Travellers or the settled community. “I know how frustrated people feel that their hard earned taxes are spent on clearing up after a minority of travellers. I don’t want us to simply do more of the same, at ever greater cost. The current strategy just moves the problem of unauthorised sites around the city. Across the UK, as more designated sites for travellers have been created, the number of unauthorised traveller encampments has dropped. Nationally, there are about eight times as many travellers based on authorised sites as on any other. Of these authorised sites, nine out of every ten of these are have residential amenities. However, until now, Brighton and Hove has been without any permanent facility, despite accommodating nearly all of the transit sites across Sussex. Emma Nuttall, Advice and Policy Manager at the Friends, Families and Travellers, a national charity which seeks to end racism and discrimination against Gypsies and Travellers “Travellers will be very happy to hear this news. A permanent site in Brighton and Hove will
give families proper amenities such as water and toilet facilities. It will bring a much needed base for members of this community, meaning better access to jobs, and better welfare for children, many of whom have been born here.” A Patcham resident walking his dog in Horsdean Recreation Ground commented on his experience of the travellers living at Horsdean’s temporary pitches. “You’d never know they were here to be honest. If they caused any trouble, you’d expect the police to deal with it, but I’d say the same about my neighbours, if they were a nuisance!” His friend responded positively to the news that the proposal was going ahead. “I think that if people are living there permanently, they’ll look after the place, they’ll have an investment in it.” Horsdean was selected from 50 sites which were considered for the proposal. It is in a sensitive location for ground water and the council has given thorough consideration to how to handle waste water from the pitches. Councillor West explains: “Professional advisors at Hemsley Orrell Partnership have prepared a detailed plan and have consulted with the Environment Agency. The proposal is that both the permanent and transit traveller sites will be linked up to the mains sewer. This will involve directional drilling under the A27 to join with the mains sewer in Vale Avenue.” This option represents a substantial cost saving compared to other options when ongoing costs are considered, whilst also ensuring no foul water enters the water course.” Whilst it won’t stop every single unauthorised encampment forever, the Horsdean development represents the best and most affordable solution for everyone wanting to enjoy our city.
To find out which of the city’s wards you live in and to find if you are served by a Green Councillor click here. To find out more about what the council have done to you click here. If you live in a part of the city not served by Green councillors you can find out how and who to contact at the Brighton & Hove City Council website.
11 | Greenleaf Summer 2014
continued articles Bloody unfair continued from page 4
Men who have sex with men and blood donation
“It is unethical to prevent a whole group of healthy people from donating blood when a blood donation might save a life. “Now the council has responsibility for public health, we hope this motion will help reassure gay and bisexual men in our city that the council is set against such a discriminatory health policy and that the government should act.” Councillor Mike Jones, who is an NHS sexual health adviser and is seconding the motion, said, “It’s absolutely crucial that blood supplies are safe and there should be proper measures in place to deal with risky individuals - but these rules mean in practice the vast majority of healthy gay and bisexual men are prevented from donating blood. “The result is we cut the supply of safe blood to the NHS while high-risk heterosexual donors remain free to donate. “The blood of a healthy gay man who is in a monogamous relationship will not be used whereas a heterosexual man who has had multiple oppositesex partners and who refuses to take safe sex precautions will
not usually be questioned about his behaviour or have his blood excluded.” Mike added: “Given that only around 5% of healthy people actually donate blood, rather than discriminating against large sections of the population, it would be far better and fairer to treat donors on a case-by-case basis using precise questions so that those gay and bisexual men who are willing to give blood would answer questions that accurately identify their degree of risk, so we aren’t turning away people who could be saving lives.” The Department of Health’s Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissue and Organs partly justifies the ban on the higher incidence of Hepatitis B in gay and bisexual men than the rest of the population since this infection could remain undetectable for several months under current testing. “However advocates of a nondiscriminatory approach say this could be addressed by a targeted Hepatitis B vaccination programme among gay and bisexual men.
Mum’s the Word continued from page 7 Meanwhile, Ailsa’s own mum has got involved and written to her own local MP. “My mum’s been really supportive of it,” says Ailsa. “She’s been Facebooking it and telling her friends about it - she’s really proud.” “If everyone who agrees that this anachronism must change signs the petition and asks their MP to sign Caroline’s Early Day Motion then this will send a strong message that the public do not find this inequality to be acceptable in 2014.” Sums up one petition signer: “This is important because my mum is important.”
It’s a horse’s life under the Tories and Labour To sign the petition to ban
animals in the circus click here.
Greater Brighton wins funding to invest in our city Brighton & Hove has been awarded some £31m over the coming years for key developments in our city. This includes funding for regeneration of Circus Street to deliver new homes, offices, student accommodation, a library and academic buildings; a Research Laboratory at Preston Barracks; and much-needed transport improvements at Valley Gardens in our city centre. Meanwhile our neighbours in our Greater Brighton city area will also receive essential funding which will help our shared economy and meet the challenges we all face. This includes cash for flood defences at Newhaven and Shoreham which will protect homes and businesses and allow new ones to be built, and a new access road for Newhaven Port, which
is growing in importance as a crucial part of our regional economy. The funding has come through our region’s Local Enterprise Partnership, of which we are a part. This partnership is where councils and business representatives in the area agree what major investments will best support the local economy. The Government has allocated £38m of new funding to the partnership for the coming year, which will help us create 14,000 jobs, 4,600 new homes and 190,000 square metres of employment space. Importantly, we’ll also be able to bid for more funding to improve our wider transport network. This could mean more funding for our major works making up for previous council administrations’ historic underinvestment in our precious
seafront – which many readers will know is in dire need of major refurbishment both as an essential transport route and a major visitor attraction. Our region is doing relatively well economically, and we were recently ranked the third best location in UK for business investment. However we can’t be complacent, and must plan for the future. We need ongoing major investment like this in our transport infrastructure, in business support and skills, to continue growing as a prosperous city and region.
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