Candidate's supporting statement
I`m standing as the Jarrow parliamentary candidate for the Green Party because people need to know there is an alternative set of policies to those of the main stream parties, who are fixated on austerity programmes that have already been a failure for the majority of people. People need to know about these alternatives and be allowed to vote on them.
Those policies include stopping the disastrous privatisation of the NHS. The government say it isn`t happening, but they also swore there would be no top down reorganisation before they were elected. Huge contracts for NHS services have been awarded to private companies already and this will only escalate if these policies are not reversed.
When have previous privatisations proved beneficial to customers, taxpayers or the nation? Think of the gas and electricity suppliers, water companies, rail services who are now largely foreign owned, whose profits go off shore, not back into the British economy. This is why the Green Party is committed to taking rail services back into public ownership.
Green party policy is to keep the NHS free to all that need it and adequately funded in public ownership. Independent studies of health services around the world have shown the NHS to be one of the best for care and cheaper than comparable organisations.
Under this government the NHS is being allowed to wither in order to justify privatisation. I have been involved in the campaign to save the Jarrow Walk in Centre, consulting with Jarrow residents and gathering support for the petition to try and save it. At the CCG meetings, when I asked what would happen to the 27,000 that used this centre each year, I was told “that they would just disappear”. I hope I am wrong, but I have the suspicion that the decisions have already been made and people from the west of South Tyneside will have to travel to Harton if they can`t get a timely GP appointment.
I with other green party supporters took part in the first leg of the NHS Jarrow March, from Jarrow to Chester-le-street, to highlight the dangers of privatisation. I will continue this fight for our NHS no matter what happens.
Inequality is growing, which is bad for social cohesion. The rich few are becoming richer at the expense of the majority whose living standards have fallen. People should have a decent basic standard of living. Adequate houses that they can afford to heat, enough food to eat, health care, education, access to public services and affordable transport. Austerity denies many people this even when they are working hard to provide for themselves.
So what are the Green Party policies to address this?
A living wage of £10 per hour by 2020 will start to make work pay and reduce the in work benefits that subsidise employers paying low wages. A programme of house building in the social sector, with reasonable rents, along with protection for people renting in the private sector.
The introduction of a citizens income is a longer term policy which will replace the present chaotic benefits system that the government have been trying to reform and failed dismally, wasting millions of pounds in the process. They are no further forward after nearly 5 years of trying. Citizen’s income is an unconditional, non-withdrawable income payable to each individual as a right of citizenship. This will be sufficient to cover an individual's basic needs. This will remove the benefits trap as everything earned above this income will not be heavily taxed and more is kept by the worker. It will also virtually eliminate benefit fraud, and provide support for people who are carers for children, disabled, or elderly. Technology is moving on, many functions, carried out by people at present, will be automated. Take driverless trains and vehicles as an example. The citizens’ income is a way of ensuring that all citizens share the benefits from these technological advances and not just the few at the top of corporate organisations.
Opponents will say it can`t be paid for. So it`s time to get serious about tax evasion and avoidance by rich individuals and large corporate organisations. A more progressive tax system would ensure the better off pay their fair share.
Devolution of power away from centralised control in Westminster is required. Policies to promote local economic management and planning include creating Partnership Bodies to enable a wide range of local people to participate in the development of policy, strategy, projects and enterprise; undertaking a wide ranging audit of local social, economic and environmental affairs and concerns; drafting appropriate sustainable economic development strategies for the locality.
Policies to increase local investment and the circulation of local finance within the community, include the development of democratically accountable Community Banks, designed to encourage local people to invest in local economic activity. They should include removal, where necessary, of national restrictions.
The existing banking system is undemocratic, unfair and highly damaging. Banks not only create money, they also decide how it is first used – and have used this power to fund financial speculation and reckless mortgage lending, rather than to finance investment in productive businesses. The existing banking system has failed and is no longer fit for purpose. The Green Party believes that the power to create money must be removed from private banks. The supply of our national currency must be fully restored to democratic and public control . A Green Government will therefore develop and implement a programme of banking reform so that they can`t cause another economic crisis. The present system allows banks to create and lend more and more money until the level of debt becomes unsustainable, boom turns to bust, and the taxpayer bails out banks that are “too big to fail”. This must not happen again, but no other party has policies to prevent it.
Training is consistently important in the encouragement of sustainable industry, for example, in helping small business and local government. Yet training levels are far lower in the UK than in other industrialised countries. Therefore, an iron-clad commitment to guaranteed alternative employment and/or training for all workers affected by the transition to sustainability, with no loss of wages, is essential. We have a long tradition in South Tyneside in the engineering sector we must integrate education and training to equip people to take advantage of new industries such as the Hitachi train factory and the supply chain it will generate.
Climate Change is one of the worst environmental hazards facing human society. The detrimental effects of human-induced global warming so far on human societies and ecosystems are already severe. Future effects over the next few decades will be far worse. We should aim steadily to reduce all UK greenhouse gas emissions to 10% of their 1990 levels by 2030. Those that advocate fracking and other fossil fuel production such as underground coal gasification will make this target impossible. This as well as other risks of environmental pollution associated with these industries should make any rational party oppose their use as the Green Party does.
We have seen increased incidence of flooding in South Tyneside requiring expensive flood defence works to be carried out. If we do not tackle global warming and the projected sea level rises will make low lying areas such as those along the river Don prone to regular flooding. Some parties seem to be in denial as they are only taking the short sighted view and ignoring the scientific evidence.
The image of the Green Party as a bunch of “tree huggers” that would take society back to living in mud huts is most people`s perception of us, but could not be further from the truth. When people see our policies on a host of other policy areas they tend to prefer them rather than those of the other parties.
So a vote for the Green Party is not a wasted vote. Each green vote is for a change from the failed business as usual policies and a vote for a fairer and sustainable future.