Local Manifesto

Local Manifesto - Sefton Green Party

 

Sefton Green Party Green Earth With Petals Logo

  • Sefton is a great place to live and it deserves the best leadership
  • Green Party policies can make our area cleaner, greener, more pleasant
  • Elected Green councillors will mean more influence to take Sefton in a better direction for the future

The Government's savage cuts have had devastating impacts on our quality of life and standard of living, while not addressing the real economic problems. In fact by making us all poorer they have reduced tax revenues and made things worse. The effect has been greater in the North of the country, and Sefton is suffering. We need to end these cuts, restore best value good quality services, and invest in the future of our area.

This is a crucial time for Sefton with the imminent adoption of the Local Plan, which will have a major influence on our community over the next 20 years. Sefton Green Party oppose the Local Plan in its current form; it is too focussed on short term economic development, at the expense of our well-being and environment.

Sefton Green Party is committed to:

  • People – fairness, shared health and wealth
  • Economic sense – investing locally, distributing wealth fairly, using resources wisely
  • Integrity – honest, open politics and a new way of making things happen
  • Environment – taking local action, creating a healthy and sustainable future for us and our children

 1. Stop the Cuts “The Green alternative to austerity.”

The Green Party opposes the Government cuts. They don't make economic sense and unfairly target the most vulnerable: children, pensioners, unemployed, the low paid, sick, people with disabilities and their carers. In Sefton, as in many other areas, jobs and vital public services like day care centres, children's centres, youth services and libraries are being sacrificed. We believe that rather than cut, we need to invest in the future. In line with Green Party policy, we will:

  • Support an expanded Green New Deal across Sefton to create jobs in renewables, public transport and waste reduction
  • Fight to protect the NHS and other vital services from privatisation
  • Campaign for a Living Wage and Citizen's Pension to end pensioner poverty
  • Fund investment by targetting tax dodgers and ensuring well-off pay their share

2. Housing and energy “A Green and pleasant land.”

Sefton has a very high number of empty properties but is still planning to use the valuable Green Belt land around our urban areas for development. The Green Party is committed to protecting the green belt through making best use of existing houses, and encouraging development on brown-field sites, where there is an overall benefit to local communities.

In line with Green Party policy we will:

  • Prioritise refurbishing perfectly good houses. This will keep communities intact, require less material, cause less waste than demolishing and new build, and create more jobs.
  • Create and implement more environmentally ambitious local planning policies: Push for more on-site renewable energy on developments
  • Implement home energy efficiency schemes reducing fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions
  • Promote affordable social housing in preference to Buy to Let, with rents reinvested back into the community

Fracking
“Fracking” or Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas has caused serious environmental and health concerns in the USA. At the only site in the UK, at Blackpool, it caused two minor earthquakes. Now many areas of Merseyside have been licensed for exploration, raising realconcerns about drinking water quality, impact on property values, and wholesale industrialisation of our countryside.


We will continue to campaign for Sefton to be a “Frack Free Zone”.


Rather than pursuing further sources of fossil fuels,we will promote energy efficiency and renewable energy schemes where they benefit people and the environment.

Bedroom Tax
The Green Party are calling for the immediate abolition of the Bedroom Tax which is causing needless hardship and distress especially to those with disabilities or the chronically ill - two-thirds of those affected nationally. Councils are spending more trying to implement the bedroom tax than the government claims to be saving.

Over 3000 households are affected in Sefton, with an average annual loss in Housing Benefit of £776. We call on Sefton MBC not to contest appeals against reduction in Housing benefit on the basis of the bedroom tax.

 

3. Communities “Health and happiness”

The main aim and purpose of the council is to serve the community. It must do so by respecting and listening to people, and by working together with the community, building trust. The interests of the community must be the interests of the council. Solutions to problems must be community-based.
Merseyside's history has given it a long tradition of diversity, with different communities living close together. This diversity should be celebrated and made into an asset by giving everyone a voice.

In line with Green Party policy we will:

  • Ensure that the NHS is protected from further privatisation, and more emphasis is put on prevention and Health promotion
  • Protect Children's and Old peoples’ centres at a time of financial pressure
  • Oppose unfair benefit cuts, penalising the vulnerable in our society
  • Address health inequalities across Sefton

4. Education “Sowing seeds for the future”

Much of Sefton’s educational provision for students of post-primary age has, sadly, already been privatised, particularly through the Academies programme. Pre-primary, Early Years provision is costly, which can constrain the options available to parents of young children. The impact of running public education for private profit is profound. Cost-cutting in schools leads to knowledge and skills gaps in pupils and staff alike. Literacy and numeracy difficulties which go unresolved into adulthood detrimentally affect not just individuals’ lives, but the lives of everyone in Sefton. Students from less well-off backgrounds who wish to pursue Further or Higher education are forced to take out large debts to fund their studies.
Course provision is often tailored to the agenda of big business, instead of prioritising development of students’ critical thinking and problem-solving abilities – lifelong skills which would enable them to meet the challenges Sefton will face in the future.

In line with Green Party policy we will:

  • Oppose the conversion to Academy status of any further schools in Sefton
  • Demand that every student in Sefton is taught by a qualified teacher
  • Work to return currently privatised schools to Local Authority control
  • Fight the threatened closure of the Sefton Supply Teachers pool
  • Champion Digital Literacy programmes for students of all ages
  • Insist on adequate access to Forest Schools and Outdoor Education for youngsters
  • Lobby for increased numbers of local high quality apprenticeship training programmes
  • Campaign for free Early Years provision, Adult, Further and Higher Education for all Sefton residents

 

5. Traffic and transport “Roads that work for all of us.”

We envisage a district where walking and cycling are the preferred choices for short trips. Less traffic and more people on the streets make it safe for children to walk and cycle to school together. More walking and cycling will make neighbourhoods more lively and feel safer for everyone to live in, and move about in. People with mobility difficulties must be able to use all forms of public transport with ease and our streets, pavements and public spaces must be accessible and easy for everyone to enjoy.

The Green party is not out to ban cars. A private car can be a useful and necessary means of transport. However, we have to recognize that excessive use of private cars are a heavy burden on our society. And we all pay the price, in terms of pollution and congestion. They dictate how we navigate through our towns, and even what our city looks like.

In line with Green Party policies we will:

  • Ensure the continued extension of 20 mph speed limits to all of Sefton, except main roads. Research shows that road casualties are reduced by as much as 40% in areas where the 20mph speed limit has been introduced.
  • Promote Car Clubs in Sefton which are the ideal solution if you need a car occasionally, but don’t want the hassle that comes with owning one. We need to create incentives for car clubs: free exclusive parking bases at strategic points in the borough. Local planning policy should require any sizeable housing development to include a car club base with subsidised membership for residents.
  • Prioritise Effective Public transport: Buses should be given more priority in Sefton, with more bus lanes, rather than reducing them, in suitable urban areas to speed up journeys
  • Urgently replace outdated trains like the Pacer Trains from Southport, and update services. Restore the Burscough Curves for connections to Preston and Ormskirk, and reopen the Canada Dock line and the North Mersey Branch line.
  • Continue to improve cycling routes and facilities in Sefton, and extend the availability of low cost or free cycle hire across Sefton
  • Encourage cycling and walking to work. Improve cycle parking in town and at the workplace, and create financial incentives for leaving the car at home.
  • Make Sefton more friendly for pedestrians and for people with mobility issues: make sure people with mobility aids, wheelchairs or buggies can move around freely and safely. Increase the number of dropped kerbs

6. Business “Profiting people”

Out of town shopping developments and supermarkets now control a large chunk of our local economy. The highly competitive prices that large chains can offer customers, may be tempting, but over time they are destructive for our local communities: Local suppliers and local shops are forced out of business, the local economy will suffer.

In line with Green Party policy we will:

  • Encourage small independent retailers through development planning, because local shops support more jobs than superstores
  • Develop jobs in the Green Economy for a truly sustainable future. Promote our national policy of scrapping Employers' National Insurance for small businesses
  • Work to ensure that the expansion of the Port includes measures to improve the situation for those already adversely affected by the current operations
  • Use currently mothballed commercial rail lines, and water based transport to reduce impacts on local roads

7. Environment and Food “Food for thought and food for free”

The Green party wants to bring nature into our towns. Trees in the streets, allotments and green space have a positive influence on people’s wellbeing. They also have a great capacity for absorbing the pollution and noise of the city, supporting wildlife such as birds and insects.

We believe that everyone has the right to a sufficient supply of nutritious and safe food in order to lead a healthy life.

Sefton is blessed with a large number of parks, some are beautiful and well kept, but others have been neglected. We want to conserve, protect and improve our parks and green spaces.

  • Convert patches of derelict and degraded land into allotments, or into green space
  • Plant more trees and protect existing trees in streets and parks
  • Support not-for-profit local organisations encouraging local food production providing affordable, low carbon fruit and vegetables for communities, including food for free at “edible bus stops and stations”
  • Strive for a world where animals do not suffer cruelty and exploitation. We support small scale free range farms and sustainable farming methods, and will work towards the phasing out of all forms of factory farming.

8. Waste and litter “Waste not want not.”

We all produce hundreds of kilos of waste every year. The disposal of this waste is already a major problem nationwide and this will only get worse, because landfill sites are filling up, and we are running out of sites. In 2012/2013 around 40% of Sefton's waste was recycled, the rest went to landfill. Reducing, separating and recycling are the only options open to us. It also makes economic sense; the average household in Britain throws away over £400 worth of food every year.

In line with Green Party Policy we will:

  • Create incentives for businesses and households to reduce, separate, and recycle waste
  • Create and support jobs in the recycling market: promote and support initiatives to recycle and reduce, such as bicycle recycle shops and nappy services
  • Ensure we maintain a free recycling collection service

9. Government “...for the people...”

Nationally and locally elected representatives have never had such a bad name as they have now. In order to restore trust in government, Sefton Green Party proposes a series of measures to increase transparency and accountability.

In line with Green Party policy we will:

  • Reduce expenses for councillors
  • Require all contracts to clearly support the local economy and to protect the health and wellbeing of local people and our environment
  • Publish details of all councillors’ expense claims in the same way as MPs' expenses are being published
  • Reduce the number of councillors from 66 to 44 (2 instead of 3 per ward) and support introduction of proportional representation, locally and nationally
  • Press for election of the whole council once every four years instead of having an election of just one third of the chamber nearly every year. This would reduce the cost of local government and allow councillors to focus on serving the people rather than permanent electioneering.

Did you know?

  • Green political parties exist all over the world representing people at local, national and international levels – Councillor, MP and MEP.
  • The Green Party is growing! We have 170 councillors elected on 56 councils across England and Wales, and locally in Liverpool, Wirral, Lancashire, and Lancaster.
  • Check out our national policies at http://www.greenparty.org.uk/
  • Test yourself on which parties policies you really support at https://voteforpolicies.org.uk/

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