The Green Party has been making its mark in Oxford ever since the first Green councillor, Caroline Lucas, was elected back in 1993. Greens bring fresh ideas into the council chamber: there is no party whip that tells councillors how to vote, and Green councillors are free to speak up, champion causes, demand transparency and accountability, and expose wrong-doing. Greens are proud to help fully represent Oxford’s diverse, vibrant and caring communities.
In the elections to the city council on 3 May, the party is campaigning on the following key issues:
Ending the homelessness crisis
Oxford is the least affordable place to live in the country and this, combined with benefit cuts, has led to a 400% rise in the number of rough sleepers since 2012. Green councillors have campaigned against the closure of city centre homeless hostels, successfully overturned measures to criminalise rough sleeping, stopped the city council from threatening to fine homeless people £2,500, and forced a Labour councillor who branded homeless ‘a disgrace’ to apologise. The party is campaigning hard to increase the supply of social housing, push for fairer rents, improve services for the homeless, and oppose those economic policies which place further demands on Oxford’s housing supply. More information can be found here.
Tackling air pollution
It is estimated that about 80 early deaths are attributable to air pollution each year in Oxford. The Greens first suggested the idea of a zero emission zone to protect public health, and we will make sure that the council follows through with its proposals to implement one. We will also expand the proposed zone to include the most polluted streets in east Oxford and explore innovative ideas for low emission public transport and invest in making cycling safer. More information can be found here.
Protecting our environment
Greens have a long track record of action on climate change and environmental protection in Oxford. We have pushed for greener building standards to be enforced, greater investment in energy efficiency and local renewable energy, expanded doorstep recycling, improved street cleaning, and ensuring the council does not invest its funds in fossil fuel businesses.
Greens have opposed the council’s costly £4m plans to double the size of the Park and Ride site at Seacourt – which would entail building on the flood plan – and instead put the money into community facilities, measures to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, and better facilities for the homeless. More information can be found here.
As an international city, more than one in four Oxford residents was born outside of the UK. Green councillors helped ensure the city council committed to ‘Remain’ in advance of the Referendum, and commission a Council study that looked at the local impact of Brexit.
Oxford is particularly affected by the pro-Brexit polices being pursued by Tories and Labour, and we are already seeing the impact: a rising number of NHS vacancies, the threat of a ‘brain drain’ from our universities, and the loss of millions of pounds of EU grant funding to the city council and other Oxford organisations.
The Green Party is calling for a people’s vote on the terms of any Brexit deal, as we believe that the EU referendum of 2016 should be seen as the start of a democratic process, not the end of it. More information can be found here.
Saving our community facilities
Oxford City council are planning to sell-off several sites owned by the city: the East Oxford Games Hall off East Avenue, the building currently occupied by Film Oxford in Catherine Street, the Chinese Community Centre and a slice of the East Oxford Community Centre site, both on Princes Street.
Greens are challenging the council to think again about their sell-off plans and are campaigning to get the Council to retain the Chinese community Centre and East Oxford Community Centre land. To help meet the need for more affordable housing, we would seek to sell off a larger plot of vacant land on Cave Street instead. More information can be found here.
While these are the party’s key priorities in this election, the party also has a manifesto laying out the full range of policies.
Holding your council to account
There is one other aim that the Green Party has in the elections: to ensure that the council reflects the range of views in the city and doesn’t become a one-party state. Such is their current strength that after 3 May the Labour Party will continue to run Oxford City Council with a comfortably majority, whatever the result in many wards. However, it is not right that one party should hold nearly 75% of the seats when it achieved less than 50% of the votes in the last city elections in 2016. Oxford is a diverse and varied city, and the council chamber should reflect it. Electing more Greens will help give a better balance to the council and allow the city’s many voices to be better heard.
Voting Green also shows what values people hold. So, if you want to see our communities put first, vote Green. If you want to see public services in public hands, vote Green. If you want to see housing of a decent standard and at affordable cost, vote Green. If you want to oppose Brexit, vote Green. And if you want to ensure green voices are properly heard in the council chamber, then vote Green. Even just one more Green councillor can make a world of difference.