People and Communities and an end to cuts? No
David Williams, Green Party County Council leader, comments on the news that the UK will have a general election on Thursday 8th June.
“Who is this general election for? People, communities and ending cuts? The Green Party is well aware important local issues in Oxfordshire’s County elections may be swept aside by national issues before voting on 4th May. But the real issue in the general election is about how it deals with the splits in the two major political parties. The Prime Minister is determined to resolve splits in her own Party about the Brexit process by obtaining a far larger majority. She is doing Labour a favour by healing its splits with the threat of a disastrous defeat that will remove Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Holding a general election now is also sheer opportunism before more effects of Brexit hit.”
David adds, “We already have a significant local example of Party splits in the One Oxfordshire proposals where Conservative and Labour councillors on the County and district councils are pitted against each other.”
David Williams outlines Green general election themes for Oxfordshire:
- Cuts must end with a fairer tax system. The Green Party would finance social services including Children’s Centres and Adult Social Care by increasing the number of council tax bands so that wealthy property owners pay fairly. We would also increase corporation tax and ensure that it is paid.
- We would introduce rent controls to remove huge rents in private, housing association and council homes. Our policy of building 500,000 council homes combined with using empty homes, buildings and derelict sites will meet the housing demand for social housing and keyworker housing that has become dominant because of an uncontrolled housing market.
- If we do not deal with Climate Change it will deal with us, harshly. The expansion of the Green economy is vital. The rapid growth of the renewable energy industry, energy conservation, sustainable organic agriculture, forestry and greener forms of tourism are all examples of how we can increase useful employment in those parts of the UK where it is most needed and resist Climate Change at the same time(1).
- The Government is making a mess of Brexit. The Greens are fighting for a referendum on any deal agreed with the EU. Membership of the Single Market is critical to keeping useful employment in Oxfordshire, including freedom of movement of people where the Government has begun to backtrack, realising apparently for the first time that our economy and society depends on a flow of workers from overseas(2).
- Renationalising the railways and investing in more carriages and cheaper fares is essential, as well as properly funding walking and cycling spending by local government.
1. See the fully costed: Green Party General Election manifesto, 2015: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/manifesto/Green_Party_2015_General_Election_Manifesto_Searchable.pdf & the 3rd edition of the One Million Climate Jobs report issued by the Campaign Against Climate Change illustrating how resisting Climate Change can generate a substantial addition to the Green Economy jobs in the UK economy: http://www.climate-change-jobs.org/
2. The Foreign Office shortage occupations lists shows years of under-investment in education in the UK and shortages in many categories of employment: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-k-shortage-occupation-list