Candidate's supporting statement
I am delighted to be standing for parliament for South Shields, my home now for 17 years. I moved to join my husband here, coming back to my roots as my parents are from the North East. I joined the Greens when I found that the dad of one of the young people at the youth club I worked at, was standing for the Greens. I looked at their policies and realised that they were exactly what I believe in, both social justice and protecting our environment.
I’ve been a campaigner since I was a teenager, working for over ten years on human rights, peace and global poverty, including at War on Want. I met my husband who’s from South Shields, when we were both volunteers in Kenya. We have a son who is 15 now and at our local comprehensive school.
Having been a youth worker and childminder, I now work in a local primary school office as an administrator and see every day the struggles that parents have with the impact of the austerity programme. I am also deeply concerned about the harm being done to our education system by the current government and have worked to prevent our schools being turned into academies, with the latest struggle over Harton Technology resulting in victory. If elected MP for South Shields I will work to keep our schools in community hands and to prevent any more being turned into academies. Our schools must be democratic, open and accountable to ensure that parents and the wider community can contribute properly to running our schools.
Similarly with health, I am campaigning to re-instate the NHS as a fully publicly owned health service, reversing the privatisation and fragmentation that has been carried out. Public transport too is vital – we must get the funding for metro expansion and for new trains as fast as possible, proper integration with a smart card that works for all public transport in the NE with regulation of buses to control fares, routes and timetables. This will also reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
Jobs of course are at the top of my list – real jobs, with decent pay, a living wage for all of £10 an hour, an end to zero-hour contract exploitation and a maximum pay ratio of 1 to 10 in any organisation to stop the rise in executive pay. The government must invest in jobs, the right kind of jobs for the right purpose, so jobs in energy efficiency – if we super-insulate every home we bring down people’s fuel bills, tackle climate change and create good skilled jobs.
Jobs would also be created by public transport investment and in creating housing – properly affordable housing to meet the massive social need of thousands of people on waiting lists, by allowing the council to create more council housing and by giving tenants in private rented sector better rights and protection.
This is what a government must do now – not more austerity but direct investment in the jobs we need. The austerity programme has in fact been a smokescreen for a huge shift of wealth to the rich and to big business – we need to reverse that, to reduce inequality and, by those who can afford it paying their taxes, invest in the services we all rely on and the urgent things our society needs.
I care passionately about our town, we need to bring in measures to support our local shops, small, independent and family businesses, like reform of business rates and rent controls. We need to create a resilient, vibrant local economy where people can live, work, shop and spend their leisure time here. Our green spaces, our riverside and our seafront are vital to all of this and I will continue to oppose any damaging plans for them, whether it’s development on the green belt or underground coal gasification along our beautiful coastline. We need these valuable spaces for our health, both physical and mental, and our wildlife.
All of these policies are about us moving towards a better quality of life for all, a secure, stable and fair way of life, that doesn’t wreck the planet. Overall, our economy is using resources as if we had three planets and we must move to a different way of living, sharing a smaller cake but crucially, that cake must be shared fairly. And that is true globally too, to stop the pressures that force people to move from their homes to migrate. We are in favour of sustainable migration and respect for people migrating and sanctuary for refugees fleeing war, violence and repression. We will push for a radically different foreign policy, stopping the aggressive military interventions, the massive subsidies for the arms trade and the pointless and destructive renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system – in fact we will demand the scrapping of Trident immediately, to show we are leading the world in disarmament and peace building.
The Greens have the radical ideas so desperately needed to create a healthy environment, a sustainable economy and a just society. I urge you to vote for the Greens here if you share our values and ideas – this election is a real chance for change, so please vote for what you believe in.