This Government is leading a concerted attack on local democracy. Their aim is to see Local Authorities contract out all services to the private sector, a move being pioneered in Bury. They want Councils to do nothing more than simply award contracts to private companies. Yet the private sector’s principle interest is profit, not delivery of service. It answers to shareholders not users of services. It is not democratically accountable. Green Councillors across the county are resisting this policy that will hit the poorest hardest and benefit the richest most. Greens know that the Government’s cuts are both unfair and unnecessary. We have produced an alternative programme for reducing the deficit, boosting investment in green jobs and avoiding savage cuts.
Investment into reducing the energy demand of the country needs to be happening now if we have any chance of minimising the damage of climate change. Almost 60% of our carbon emissions come from manufacturing and consumption, more effort must be made to reduce this figure along with major improvements to public transport and changing attitudes towards how we use our cars. The Borough Council should aim to become carbon neutral, it should take advantage of the Feed In Tariff to turn its building stock in to energy generators, cutting its energy costs and raising revenue. Green Councillors in Norfolk are setting up a Council owned Energy Supply Company, using the Feed In Tariff to finance fitting solar panels on Council buildings, selling surplus electricity back to the grid, so cutting costs and raising revenue. Green Councillors in Kirklees set up a free insulation scheme for council tenants that has enabled households save on average £150 on their annual energy bills. Greens deliver new ideas, not cuts.
Too many Councils are failing to protect the interests of small business and the local economy, always favouring the interests of big business. Throughout the country, Green councillors with the support of local landlords, traders and residents have managed to stop many attempts by supermarkets to build unnecessary stores that would cause the closure of local independently owned shops. Local stores provide a wider social and economic role and one that is central to a sustainable neighbourhood. Over 50% of the turnover of independent retailers goes back into the local community whereas the supermarkets effectively take money out of the local economy. They also meet the needs of the disadvantaged, socially excluded and elderly, particularly those with a lack of mobility who cannot access more distant shops.
Green Councillors have also fought to save local markets and helped establish farmers markets to encourage the sale of locally produced food. The Borough Council should review its land holding aiming to make land available for food production for local supply, again raising revenue for local services. Greens bring cooperation with local business not sell out to big business.
Untold billions was found to bail out the banks and replace Trident yet when it comes to safeguarding our children’s future and the lives of many people around the world both Labour and the Lib-Con Coalition do not see it as a priority. Greens are planning for a safe and sustainable future for all.