Winter 2015 | 49 Edition Published by Brighton & Hove Green Party
Our urban habitat: Butterfly Award for city
Sea views for miles. Worth the wait: a legacy Building a 21st century city of attractive and safer streets for all
What is being done to protect the planet for our children
Meet the new faces standing for council election in May
GREENLEAF Standing up for Labour-Tory pact to attack city’s poorest our NHS OUR doctors and nurses do amazing work under extraordinary pressure, writes Caroline Lucas MP. But they’re being forced to handle ever-increasing demand, at a time when the Government’s reckless austerity measures are putting the whole of the NHS under almost unbearable strain. This month the situation reached breaking point, as hospitals around the country, including the Royal Sussex, declared major or “significant” incidents, ‘just to cope’, as one A&E consultant put it, ‘with normal winter pressures’. Continued on page 8.
Photo: James Mcdonald
Actor and campaigner Joanna Lumley and Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas have been announced as new patrons of the Peter Tatchell Foundation. LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:
“We’re really honoured to have them on board...they have been outstanding supporters.”
“Caroline Lucas is one of the few MPs who doesn’t just talk about loving the NHS, but has worked hard to protect it. She’s been a powerful voice in Parliament against the legislation which is leading to the privatisation that has put our health service at risk under the past two Governments.” Dr Wendy Savage, President, Keep our NHS Public
A ‘Labour-Tory stitch-up’ is nearly doubling the council tax Brighton & Hove’s poorest working households must pay. Poor families who had been cushioned from the full council tax charge and were paying £130.66 a year, will see it hiked to £230.57 a year. This is thanks to Labour and Conservative councillors joining forces to stop the Greens. Green Councillor Ollie Sykes, Lead Member for Finance, said: “It’s appalling that Labour is collaborating
Caroline Lucas 10 Points ahead in Brighton MP poll A recent 1001 sample opinion poll by the Tory Peer Lord Ashcroft has put Caroline Lucas MP on course to hold her Brighton Pavilion seat at the next General Election. Lord Ashcroft said: “In the unique constituency of Brighton Pavilion, I found the Green Party ten points ahead, with a four-point swing from Labour.” Turn to page 3 for more.
with the Tories to transfer wealth from the poorest to the richest. These are local people who are working in low-paid jobs, desperate to make ends meet. Just like the Government, which recently announced a freeze in support for working families, Labour and the Tories locally are lining up to hammer the poorest in our communities. Sign our petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/ petitions/stop-labour-s-poor-tax Continued on page 10.
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City news Doctors call for 20mph
Butterfly award for city
The speed limit should be cut to 20mph across the UK in built-up areas, say doctors, to help tackle the UK’s child mortality rate, the second worst in Europe. The call from the national Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) highlights how lower speed limits not only reduce accidents but also improve children’s health through better air quality and encouraging them to become more active. 20mph speed limits in Brighton & Hove have led to a drop in both the number of collisions – a 20% fall in serious casualties - and also a drop in the severity of these casualties. “It’s an evidence-based recommendation. The risk has been shown and we do know that the chance of a child being seriously injured or killed increases exponentially as your speed goes up,” said Dr. Hilary Cass, president of the RCPCH.
The city has won a prestigious conservation award recognising outstanding contribution to the conservation of butterflies and moths - The Lepidoptera Conservation Award. Over the past seven years, city council staff and conservationists have been working to create 15 new Butterfly Havens across the city, from East Brighton Park and Carden Avenue to Hove Lagoon, Greenleas and Mile Oak recreation ground. “These havens have effectively brought the delights of the chalk downs within the reach of city dwellers,” said Dr Dan Danahar, Habitat Restoration Officer for Butterfly Conservation’s Sussex Branch. ”They have allowed precious downland wildlife to flourish on poor quality grassland sites.”
Brighton & Hove fights back against budget cuts
Councillor Ian Davey, Green spokesperson for Transport on Brighton & Hove council, echoed this: “Time and time again the evidence shows that slower speeds are safer for everyone on our streets. But the effects of speeding traffic often fall upon the most vulnerable in our society – older people, and young children. “Indicative figures from Brighton & Hove show that city centre 20mph speed limits make our streets safer and reduce the number and severity of collisions. “Doctors have now added their voices to the evergrowing body of evidence slower speeds save lives.”
Words Lee Crawfurd. Photos: charlottemacpherson.co.uk and Ishbel Amyatt-Leir
Farewell to the Dog’s Best Friend An animal lover who campaigned in Asia to stop people eating dogs has died aged 59. John Hughes lived in Brighton for 30 years before moving to the Philippines where he set up an animal sanctuary and launched the “No to Dog Meat” campaign. He was well-known in Brighton for driving his dog Woody around on his Yamaha XT500 motorbike. He founded the charity “Dogs Mountain” which looked after dogs rescued from the meat trade. By spring last year there were 250 at the shelter and since his campaigning the dog meat trade has been made illegal in the country. Alison Plaumer of The Green Party’s Animal Rights Working Group said: “John’s death is a tragic loss, both because of his young age, and because he was involved in such admirable and honourable work. “Dogs in the Asian meat trade are factory farmed. Any type of factory farming is of its very nature inhumane sadly the animal is merely
Green Councillor Pete West, Chair of the council’s Environment, Sustainability and Transport Committee, said: “I’m extremely proud that we have been able to create these magnificent havens which are already attracting many butterfly species back to the city.”
Shoppers, traders and residents and are acknowledging this are celebrating the completion previously overlooked space, of a wonderful new 60-foot with many stopping to share long mural in George St, Hove. a memory of George Street as they remember it.” The once gloomy twitten linking to the Tesco car park and St Andrew’s Church is now a colourful collage of local scenes and nostalgic themes with a modern edge from the talents of local street artists. Hove MP candidate Cllr Hawtree said: “The new mural is a welcome addition to the colourful banners, seasonal celebrations and community fun days that are all part of Councillor Christopher Hawtree life on George Street. Passersgetting involved on George Street by have been stopping to look
Faced with a massive £18 million cut in the city council’s funding from central government, Brighton & Hove Green Party decided in December on a plan of action to halt this attack on the essential public services that city residents rely on, with a citywide campaign demanding the reinstatement of the city’s full grant and an end of the erosion of local democracy. Under the banner of “Our City Our Future,” the campaign aims to involve as many local people as possible, including trade unions, campaign groups and the People’s Assembly. It will tell Government that Brighton & Hove has suffered enough and cannot take any more cuts. The campaign will engage people in different ways with plans for stalls, public meetings and street theatre plus a dossier to present to the Government on budget day (26 February), full of stories from local people about how budget cuts would affect them. To contribute to the dossier, join the campaign, or for more info visit www.ourcityourfuture.org.uk
We have the power
A voice for Kemptown
seen as a product. Inhumane treatment of animals for food and factory farming is something the Green party is opposed to. We support small scale organic farming and sustainable agriculture. “I’m sure John’s family whilst grieving their loss will also feel proud of John, for the legacy he’s left for the dogs.”
Davy Jones, Green Party’s MP candidate for Brighton Kemptown, has been campaigning to protect the environment and opposing the cuts in public services. He has supported public sector workers like firefighters and nurses fighting to defend their pay and conditions, and opposed attempts to privatise local NHS services. At the same time, he has been supporting residents in Ovingdean and Saltdean standing up to developers trying to build on greenfield sites. davyjones4kemptown.org.uk/
Davy Jones campaigning on St James’s Street
A new wind farm which will begin construction off the Sussex coast this year will provide energy for 290,000 homes, more than twice the population of Brighton and Hove. The project will place 116 turbines eight miles off the coast, running from Peacehaven to Worthing. The turbines are only visible from Brighton beach on a clear day. The project, which will take three years to build, will also create up to 300 jobs centred around Newhaven.
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General election Why Caroline? A political conscience Adam McGibbon, Green Party National Target Constituencies Campaign Manager speaks to Greenleaf about the campaign to re-elect Caroline Lucas
Above McGibbon: “voters have a choice now”
Q. So you’re in charge of the campaign to re-elect Caroline Lucas and hopefully elect more Green MPs - how is it going? How was 2014 and what is the Green Surge all about? Yes, polls have been getting better for us locally and nationally. The trend has been moving in our favour since last year and the recent Ashcroft opinion poll of 1001 voters in Brighton Pavilion puts Caroline 10 points ahead of her nearest rival. Right now, we’re benefiting from a boom in members with membership growing by hundreds a week and opinion polls suggesting support is 10% nationally and much higher in Brighton; even in Hove opinion polls are putting us on around 15%. This is unprecedented- we have overtaken the Libdems in
some polls. Our membership has overtaken UKIP and the LibDems. People have called it the “Green surge” and it parallels the breakup of the three party grip on voter loyalty – probably the only positive of the rise of UKIP. Q. Ok, makes sense enough, but aren’t the big parties right when they say at the end of the day it’s really about electing a Government rather than an MP?
You can’t separate them out in this way – it’s what Labour tries to do and in my view that’s sadly not being honest with the voters. But people can see through it as it is increasingly apparent that the old political three party system has disappeared and it’s likely we will have a coalition government after May. Last time in Brighton Labour kept telling everyone that if you voted Green you’d get a Tory MP in Brighton Pavilion. That was untrue even before the last election and then they were proven wrong. Now they are falling back on ‘You are choosing a Government so it means A or B only’. Now pollsters are predicting that no one party
will form a government in any case so the idea of a simple choice between party A or B isn’t accurate. Yes, of course we are choosing a Government but it’s about ensuring Brighton’s influence and voice is used with most effective impact; that’s why it is essential to have an independent voice who can challenge a Labour Government every step of the way and bring them to where progressive voters expect them to be - not where Labour Government wants to take the voters. Caroline speaks for these voters and that means being clear that as far as supporting a Tory or Labour Government, Caroline would never back the Tories. Q. ‘So re-electing Caroline means she can act as Labour supporters’ political conscience?’
Yes. Caroline in Parliament gives progressive voters a way of keeping true to their political conscience.It means a Labourled Government will be held to account from a democratic platform to their Left. In Parliamentary votes, Caroline will speak for ordinary people in Brighton in a way that MPs who are part of a large national party
will always struggle to do when every day they are told how to vote by their leadership. She offers Labour supporters the reassurance that conviction politics won’t be forgotten - especially on the big issues of the day that a Labour Government will be shy of delivering or defending. She will put climate and the environmental crisis at the heart of the agenda, which no other party will do. Caroline in Parliament can also play a role among other Left voices in discouraging Labour from chasing Tory voters and the Right-wing media to the exclusion of virtually all else - as has happened in the Blair and Brown years. Labour will never admit it but Caroline’s campaign on bringing the railways back into public hands may have pulled Labour back from its avowedly proprivatisation position; I think Caroline put it well when she said, “As an MP, I will offer support for the Labour leadership but not a blank cheque.”
Above: Rt Hon John Bercow MP (left) speaking about Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, who was named 2014 Overall MP of the Year by the Patchwork Foundation. Martyn Lewis CBE, Patron of the Patchwork Foundation (right).
“By sheer force of personality, Parliamentary insistence and dogged commitment to the chamber, the committees, the procedures of the House, she has advanced her causes. It shows that it can be done... she has made a hell of an impact in the House”.
Brighton MP poll put Greens ahead
Who should I vote for?
The 1,001 voter sample puts Caroline Lucas on 38% with Labour trailing on 28% and Tories on 21% - an improved position over the last poll in June, and represents a 4% swing from Labour to Green from 2010. Adam McGibbon said, “This is hugely encouraging. It shows a significant widening of Caroline’s lead over the last Ashcroft poll, with Caroline opening up a 10 point lead over Labour. While we are not taking anything for granted, we are delighted that the
by Paul Philo As an over 55 year old who should I vote for in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections? I intend to vote for the party which has the best policies for the country on the NHS, equality and the environment, but as a senior I am interested in policies which particularly affect me. Read the full article at: www.brightonhovegreens.org
Caroline Lucas MP with residents at Elwyn Jones Court sheltered housing
voters of Brighton Pavilion appear to be swinging behind Caroline and can see the unique and special benefits of having her as their MP.”
Green Party the third largest party across the UK.
Green member surge Meanwhile Green Party membership in the city has shot well past the 1200 mark and continues to climb. The news came as the national Green Party’s UK membership passed that of Ukip and the Lib Dems, making the
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: email@example.com
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City focus Tackling our city’s real challenges From playgrounds and parks to bus stops and bathrooms the Greens have been getting to grips with Brighton and Hove’s longstanding issues to make sure that everyone has a better quality of life at work, rest and play Preston Barracks Uni plans Is now close to getting the go-ahead. Once approved it will deliver new employment space, new university academic buildings, student accommodation with 1,300 bedrooms, 350 quality new homes and 25,000 sq ft of retail space.
From the start of the Greenled council’s term an ‘open for business’ banner was hoisted high over Brighton and Hove. Despite the government’s assault on public finances, Greens have shown themselves capable of driving forward the local economy with the political will to work with partners to safeguard the long term economic success of Brighton & Hove. Latest Government data shows that Brighton & Hove is outstripping the performance of the South East and the UK, expanding by five per cent compared to three per cent regionally and nationally. Our city’s entrepreneurial spirit has led to ‘Start up Britain’ naming Brighton and Hove as the 4th in the country for startups, after London, Manchester and Birmingham. Information technology expanded by more than 15 percent and is at the heart of the £202m Greater Brighton City Deal, a regional alliance of local councils who collaborate to attract economic investment. The Deal, driven forward by Council Leader Jason Kitcat, was awarded in 2014 to help transform the wider Brighton area into one of the highest performing economies in the country, a major strategic achievement under the Greens. Against the backdrop of government cuts, the last four years of the Green-led administration has a worked up programme of 183 new council homes (see p.5), and overseen the creation of 9,000 new jobs for local people. Major new developments are set to transform the city’s economy and enhance its reputation for the arts, conferences, shopping, and education.
Seafront arches redevelopment and the i360 The seafront arches were built in the time of Queen Victoria and now need to be replaced. The Green administration has invested in restoring this vital part of our seafront, so that seafront businesses can thrive. The 162m high i360 tower is projected to earn three times as much as it needs to cover its costs and, importantly, will deliver £1m a year into the council’s coffers and create nearly 450 permanent jobs.
Recognition of the seafront improvements under a Green council has also come from Lonely Planet, which put our city beaches in the world’s top ten. Circus Street The public-private partnership between the council, University of Brighton and Cathedral Group will transform the former fruit and veg market. It’s expected to create 400 jobs, 142 new homes and inject £200m into the city’s economy over the next 10 years.
King Alfred Leisure Centre redevelopment The Green administration has steered this successfully to the point where the announcement of a preferred developer partner is expected to be made by September. Waterfront Development This will, if approved, redevelop the Brighton Centre area and the Black Rock area next to Brighton Marina. It’s a major project which would include a new multipurpose venue and new homes, and create 2,000 new jobs. If successful, the development will be the largest the city has seen, with an estimated value of £547m, and will generate an anticipated £150m extra income for the city. Meanwhile, the city’s visitor economy has thrived under the Greens, accounting for up to 20,600 jobs and worth between £800 million and £1 billion to the local economy. The administration has worked hard to help drive visitor numbers up to 11m, which, according to latest statistics from Tourism South East, have continued to prosper despite bad weather and a sluggish national economy. Trips where visitors stayed overnight hit 1.4m, up five per cent, and the total number of visitor nights spent in the city rose by 7.5 per cent to 4.8m. Greens supported the bid to get the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain Cycle Race to come to the city, which saw the local economy boosted by £3 million on the day. The administration also backed the successful bid to bring the Rugby World Cup to the city and that is expected to boost overnight stays and make a significant contribution to the visitor economy.
Brighton and Hove is outstripping the rest of UK says Geoffrey Bowden, chair of the city’s Economic Development and Culture Committee.
Lewes Road has been transformed with cycle lanes and floating bus stops that keep bikes out of harm’s way. This busy thoroughfare to the universities is now showing improved journey times, reduced accidents and safer conditions for pedestrians as well as some funky new bus shelters.
Greens have been taking care of the birds and the bees, winning national and international recognition for their commitment to the long term welfare of the city and their inhabitants. biospherehere.org.uk
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Brighton station is no longer an eyesore but welcoming to our 11 million visitors and becoming a more pleasant experience for the Brightonians who pass through each day.
Seven Dials was known to be one of the most dangerous roundabouts in the country. Under the Greens the area was completely remodelled, saving lives, improving conditions and reducing journey times for pedestrians and drivers. New street furniture make taking en route stops possible and local maps have been a godsend for visitors and an attractive reminder of our local community for residents.
Once a dingy anti-social hotspot The Level is now a community hub to be proud of with attractive walks, a vibrant play area and a skate park the envy of the world. Next door thereâ€™s a new and improved Open Market.
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
Preston Park Mike Jones Tel: 291149 Amy Kennedy Tel: 296445 Leo Littman Tel: 291152
Brighton and Hoveâ€™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
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Environment Planetary activity Greens saving the planet for future generations
by Georgina Turner
With the welfare of our world at the heart of Green Party policy, what have the Greens done locally and nationally to tackle climate change? Action for the planet and the people: Climate action begins at home, with Green-led Brighton and Hove City Council installing solar panels on council buildings to cut energy bills, and automatic meters to monitor and reduce water waste. Climate change is a threat to biodiversity and Brighton and Hove Council is planting diverse and sustainable flora including wildflowers in public spaces across the city. Greens on the city council have been working to improve public transport. Bus journeys in the city have risen to 46 million annually since 2011. 20mph speed limits have helped to reduce accident rates, and new cycle lanes have encouraged cyclists. This work has been recognised both nationally and internationally, with Brighton and Hove named City of the Year 2014 by the EU’s City-VitalitySustainability scheme, and being shortlisted for three prizes at the National Transport Awards. The Green Party continues to be a leading voice on climate change. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has called for the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund to divest funds from gas, coal and oil investments as a way of tackling climate change. Meanwhile, last year Keith Taylor, Green Euro MP for Brighton and Hove, published a report titled “Polluted Playgrounds” which found that nearly 28000 primary school children across South East England go to school within a 150 metre radius of heavy traffic points. Keith said, “The government must stop pretending the problem doesn’t exist and make air pollution an immediate priority with adequate funding to make a real impact.”
Railways for the people Caroline has launched a Parliamentary Bill which calls for Britain’s rail franchises to be brought back into public ownership as they either fail or their contracts expire. The Rebuilding Rail report, published by Transport for Quality of Life, conservatively estimates that around £1.2bn is lost each year as a result of fragmentation and privatisation. “This is money which could, and should, be reinvested to improve our services and reduce fares,” said Caroline. According to figures released by the Campaign for Better Transport, average ticket prices have soared under the coalition Government – by more than 20% for Brighton-London commuters, whose journey to and from work could cost the equivalent of 8.6 weeks’ of net earnings – over £4,400.
Building the future Greens have ensured Brighton and Hove Council has tended to the city’s housing stock and made long overdue improvements writes Bill Randall
Essex House before and after
The Green commitment to bring 21st century living conditions to all the council’s tenants is bearing fruit. Work finishes soon on the £3.8 million third phase of the refurbishment of the Bristol Estate, East Brighton. New cladding, windows and insulation have reduced fuel bills and fuel poverty on the estate and improved the health and wellbeing of residents. A similar £5.5 million
improvement scheme starts later this year at four council high-rise blocks in Clarendon Road, Hove. The last year also saw the completion of a £2.1 million facelift at Essex House, Eastern Road, where the scaffolding has gone up as the first step in a £1.4 million improvement project at the neighbouring Warwick Mount. At Sanders House, a Seniors Housing scheme in Hove, every flat now has its own shower. At Evelyn Court, Portslade, work has started on a similar project. Average cost of providing a shower and refiguring the former bedsit flats to provide a separate bedroom is £21,000. ‘‘I was shocked to discover that people in their 80s and 90s were sharing bathrooms,” says Housing Chair Cllr Bill Randall. “I made the work, which should have been done years ago, a priority. The residents are very pleased with their ‘new’ homes, and the council profits too. The bedsits were hard to let, stayed empty for weeks on end and we lost rental income. All that has changed.” Large or small, the projects are paid for through an annual improvement budget of about £15 million, which is funded by tenants’ rents. “We have accelerated the programme by, for example, bringing forward the lift replacement work,” says Cllr Randall. “Nevertheless, we have a long way to go. Many of the flats and houses were built at the same time, and we are committed to giving them urgent care and attention.”
Proposed new council homes at Selsfield Drive, Moulescoomb.
These 20 flats are part of a programme of more than 200 new council homes the Green administration is working on. 60 have planning permission. More than 100 have been approved by the housing committee and now go forward to planning. Work starts on the first scheme in the Spring. The previous decade had seen only 15 new council homes built in the city. The council and housing associations started, completed and planned 1044 homes during 2011-14 – a period of extreme financial difficulty and uncertainty. In addition, Greens have brought 491 empty privately owned homes in the city back into use and Brighton and Hove Seaside Community Homes has brought more than 400 empty council-owned homes back into use.
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City elections We’re standing for election This May sees elections for the city council. Greenleaf decided to seek out your candidates and find out what drives them to be part of the council and help shape our city’s future. In this edition the candidates for Queen’s Park, Preston Park and Hanover wards joined Aidan Goatley for a quick chat…
Hanover & Elm Grove
David Gibson (above left) has been a Hanover resident for 18 years and and was inspired to join by our MP Caroline Lucas and the example she sets in Parliament. “She’s an inspirational and principled MP and as a councillor I’d put the party’s principles into practice at a local level.” Having worked for 26 years in local councils on community and housing issues David is certainly not inexperienced in the way things work. “I was the co-founder of Hanover Action for Sustainable Living (HASL), a group with 250+ supporters, which holds public meetings, socials, shows films, nurtures street activities, promotes carbon reduction and manages a community garden.” Dick Page (above right) is a recentlyretired longstanding Hanover resident who is committed to making our city a
fairer and healthier place – especially for those on low incomes and/or in disadvantaged groups. “I want to build on our initial achievements: safer, more active travel; improved open spaces; protected care services and grants; welfare support and housing policies.” Dick says, “I was a social worker for 38 years; also a team manager responsible for budgets. Since 2005 I’ve been an advocate for, and helped empower, disadvantaged people in voluntary organisations: a Carers’ Centre, The Fed Disability Advice Service and Age UK Advocacy.” Completing the Hanover team is Hollie Wharam-Moscrop (above centre), a 21 year old proud Brightonian. She sees her age as an advantage to engage with younger voters in her area “I know I can engage young people in politics, as many of them don’t vote at all, and feel disillusioned with mainstream political parties.” She was drawn to politics when Caroline Lucas visited her college . She was inspired by her ideas, particularly those of social and economic equality. “I want to promote the values of our party, and to continue the great work the Council has been doing.”
With the prospect of central government funding diminishing still further, regardless of who gets the keys to Number 10 next year, it remains absolutely vital to have strong voices that fight to protect services for children, vulnerable adults, those on low income and the unemployed. Geoffrey Bowden (below right), who, in his own words, has had ‘the honour to be first elected in 2011’ will be one to provide that voice “The most rewarding aspect of being a Green councillor has been taking up individual casework and it is this aspect that drives me on to wish to continue as a councillor.” Stephanie Powell (below centre) entered politics from her involvement in trying to save ‘Connexions.’ This led to her becoming a councillor in Queens Park in the landslide win in 2011. “I regard myself as an active, reliable and conscientious member of the administration.” The experience of being a councillor has changed her life though and has helped her direct her passion about equality, conservation, social justice, challenging climate change, and sticking up for the voiceless. Being a
councillor has given her a chance to do all of that. “It has tested my resilience; to “take the flak”. It has been by far the biggest work challenge I’ve faced yet.” With 30 years in local government (as both elected member and policy officer) or, former Labour Councillor Richard Stanton (below left) is steeled for the challenges ahead. “The next four years will be just as demanding. In the harshest financial climate ever, councillors and Party will have to work even closer together and if we can help citizens to see how their future is in their own hands, even in small ways, it will be worth it.”
Preston Park Leo Littman is a native Brightonian who has been in the local Green Party for 25 years. “Being elected as a Green Party Councillor in my home town has been a dream come true. Although the last three and a half years have held many challenges, I am proud of the achievements of the first Green administration in the face of savage Government funding cuts, and look forward to contributing to even greater success in our second term.” Rob Shepherd “Rob Shepherd has lived in the city, including Fiveways and Prestonville, for more than 20 years. A former local Green Party chair, he has run a successful Brighton-based business
since 2002 and been very active in the Chamber of Commerce. “I’m proud of my home city, in all its guises, and proud also of the way the Green council has managed and so often improved things here in such difficult circumstances. The Greens have been a breath of fresh air for the city and I look forward to making my own contribution as a Green, serving Preston Park’s residents and businesses.” Georgina Turner Georgina became a Green Party member after working as the National Party’s Fundraising and Membership Officer in London. She is a part of the Young Greens’ 30 under-30 mentoring
Above Georgina Turner, Rob Shepherd and Leo Littman
scheme and stood as a council candidate in the north London ward of Canonbury in 2014. Georgina currently works as a Programme Officer at the Climate Parliament, an international cross-
party network of legislators working to prevent climate change and promote renewable energy, based in Brighton. Outside of work, Georgina is currently training for the 2015 Brighton marathon.
Your Green Councillors Queen’s Park @ QueensParkGreen Geoffrey Bowden Tel: 291986 @The SussexSquare Stephanie Powell Tel: 291156
Regency Ania KitcatTel: 296447 Jason Kitcat Tel: 291011 @jasonkitcat
St Peter’s & North Laine Ian Davey Tel: 296430 Lizzie Deane Tel: 291138 Pete West Tel: 296431
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: email@example.com
8 | Greenleaf Winter 2015
Caroline Lucas writes…
Continued from front page...
Standing up for our NHS A crisis of recruitment for nurses (which looks set to continue, given David Cameron’s u-turn on even just a 1 per cent pay rise); government-driven cuts to social care budgets; and a lack of investment in GP services are putting intolerable strain on the NHS. But underpinning all of this is the Government’s disastrous 2012 Health and Social Care Act (HSCA) which risks hollowing out our cherished NHS into little more than a logo - with public provision whittled away and services carved up to allow profiteers to claim their slice of the £110 billion NHS budget. That’s why I took a leading role in the parliamentary campaign against the HSCA, tabling amendments, and speaking out against the damaging
privatisation and fragmentation that’s happened under successive governments. And while a new Bill from Labour MP Clive Efford, the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill, is a step in the right direction, and would repeal the ‘competition’ sections of that pernicious HSCA 2012, it wouldn’t re-establish the Secretary of State’s duty to provide the NHS (despite the long title of the Bill saying it would). Instead, it introduces a duty to ‘commission’ services. There are serious concerns that this could actually extend the very market principles that have been increasingly applied to the NHS over the last 25 years. It will take vision and swift, collaborative action to rescue the NHS. And it’ll take a more courageous, robust Bill than
Efford’s. For a rigorous and comprehensive rescue package the NHS Reinstatement Bill, drawn up by Professor Allyson Pollock, and health lawyer Peter Roderick, is the Bill to back. This is the Bill for a truly public healthcare service, and the one that I am championing. Protecting the NHS is worth the greatest fight we have in us. As a local MP I’ll continue to give it just that. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Promoted by Steve Harris on behalf of Brighton and Hove Green Party both of 39-41 Surrey Street, Brighton, BN1 3PB. Printed by Iliffe Press, Winship Rd, Milton, Cambridge CB24 6PP. Tel 01273 766 670.
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Online edition I am over 55 – who should I vote for in the General election? asks Paul Philo, Secretary National Pensioners Convention Brighton and Hove Action Group (writing in a personal capacity)
Continued from page 3 As an over 55 year old who should I vote for in the forthcoming Parliamentary elections? I intend to vote for the party which has the best policies for the country on the NHS, equality and the environment but as a senior I am interested in policies which particularly affect me. Older people have received a bad press lately. They have been accused of not having to take their share of the necessary cuts in order to balance the nation’s books. Some of the media portray older people ‘as never having it so good’ whilst the rest of the population has its standard of living reduced by pay or benefit cuts. In the worst accounts older people are seen as being a burden to society, putting a strain on the NHS and social services. But is this true? Older people pay £ 45 billion in tax every year. Older people make a large partly unseen contribution to the economy by being volunteers, by looking after aged parents and increasingly caring for grandchildren.
In the last four years pensioners have had the real value of their State (including pension credit) and public service pensions reduced. State pensions before the cuts were already some of the lowest in the developed world in relation to the average wage. They are so low that if your income is the maximum state pension or below, then you are classified as poor and entitled to claim pension credit. Half of all those entitled to a state pension are therefore seen as poor and entitled to pension credit, although a third of these do not claim it, through lack of support from government. Under the present scheme set up in the 1980s,under the Tories, if you are infirm and need social care in your home or in a residential home then you will have to pay for it until all of your assets except a small amount for ‘pocket money’ are gone. If you never had assets or have exhausted them then things are even worse. The proportion of people getting state funded care in their home has dropped by 28% because of government cuts. If older people are not doing so well what are the political parties going to do about it.? The Conservatives continue to pretend they are the party for older people. Yet they have cut pensions and pension credit and are promising worse after the next election. The Labour party along with the Tories have continued with the unfair means tested care scheme. They have recently stated they will means test the winter fuel allowance which helps to save lives in the winter. Means testing as we have seen with pension credit means many will not apply and many anomalies will occur and the cost of testing will be almost as much
as what is saved. A means tested benefit costs ten times as much to administer as a universal one. The next steps for them could be to possibly withdraw or means test the free bus pass, prescriptions, and the over 75 TV licence. The Green party supports a Citizen’s pension which at present would be around £200 per week, a huge increase on the present maximum of around £140.In view of the present poor State pension
the Green party would support the continuance of the present universal benefits like the winter fuel allowance which help to make life a little better for many older people. The Greens believe that social care should be free at the point of need like the NHS as it was in the past in England and still is in Scotland. Only the Greens are promising improvements for older people.
Who do you think I shall be voting for? To read about Green Party policies for older people go to: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ sw.html For more information on the National Pensioners Convention call (020) 7383 0388. or to read more about the Brighton branch visit:
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Online edition Labour-Tory pact to attack city’s poorest A ‘Labour-Tory stitch-up’ is nearly doubling the council tax Brighton & Hove’s poorest working households must pay continued from page 1 Green Councillor Ollie Sykes, Lead Member for Finance, said: “It’s astonishing that they’re happy to nearly double council tax for the poorest families in our city, but won’t support a modest single figure rise for those that can better afford it, in order to keep vital local services running.” In a council committee meeting in December the ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme’, which ensures that those on the lowest incomes only have to pay a proportion of their council tax bill, was
changed by Labour and the Tories, increasing the amount they have to pay from 8.5% to 15%. A deprived family in a Band D property would now need to find £230 a year. Official figures show that the five worst affected wards are:
• East Brighton – 1616 families
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• Moulsecoomb and Bevendean – 1229 families
• Queens Park – 1435 families • St Peter’s & North Laine – 1234 families
• Hollingdean & Stanmer – 1095 families
Planetary activity Greens saving the planet for future generations continued from page 6 The Green Party continues to be a leading voice on climate change. The city council won the prestigious ‘Promotion of Lepidoptera Conservation Award’ recognising an outstanding, unprecedented or major contribution to the conservation of butterflies and moths. In addition to this, Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere Reserve, which covers almost 400 square kilometres of land and sea including city, rural and coastal habitats, has now been internationally recognised by UNESCO, the world cultural organisation, as a new World Biosphere area - the first completely new Biosphere site in the UK established for almost forty years. biospherehere.org.uk Keith Taylor, Green Euro MP for Brighton and Hove, (pictured right) published a report titled “Polluted Playgrounds” which found that nearly 28000 showed
that approximately 27,920 children of primary school age in South East England are attending schools within a 150 metre radius of heavy traffic points and that many thousands more go to school within 450 metre of the region’s busiest roads. Air pollution is a serious health threat in the UK and is second only to smoking as the biggest killer. Keith said, “Continuing to allow unchecked air pollution means sentencing children to
Above: the South Downs National Park
poor respiratory health and earlier death. Air pollution is second only to smoking as a killer. The government must stop pretending the problem doesn’t exist and make air pollution an immediate priority with adequate funding to make a real impact”. Polluted Playgrounds Report: http://issuu.com/ greenkeithmep/docs/air_ pollution_web
Below: wild flowers planting in central Brighton.