Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, has launched the Green Party’s Local Elections campaign in Bristol alongside Tony Dyer, the Greens’ Bristol Mayoral candidate, and Bristol councillor Daniella Radice.
Ahead of the launch Bennett said:
Green councillors have proven their ability to stand up for their constituents and deliver real change and we are excited to be standing almost 1,500 candidates on 5 May. In a period when councils have been under enormous pressure to execute savage cuts handed down from Westminster, I am proud to say Green councillors have fought tooth and nail to protect essential public services and vulnerable people. By challenging the destructive budget priorities of councils led by the old parties that have run out of ideas, and holding planners and developers to account, Green councillors have made a real difference to people’s lives.
The Green Party are standing over 1,500 candidates on 5 May. Alongside the Greens’ 168 principal authority councillors, those newly elected next month will move to demand that local authority pensions are not invested in companies that have links to tax havens or unethical concerns.
At the launch, Bennett challenged our unfair tax system, and the notion that austerity is inevitable:
The recent tax evasion and avoidance scandals involving the shady financial arrangements of the super wealthy show that austerity is not unavoidable – it is a choice. The loopholes that exist in our unfair taxation system, and the ability of millionaires to avoid paying their way, shows there is enough money to pay for our vital council services - all that is needed is the political will.
But while councils have been hard hit by Tory austerity, they should be straining every sinew to protect care services, community facilities and leisure spaces - finding creative ways to preserve them for the future. Greens have ideas to help with that, as well as scrutinising, challenging, and asking tough questions - being a new broom sweeping through often dusty corridors.
If you want to send your message about the need for real change – about the need for multinational companies and rich individuals to pay their way and about the need for creative solutions in local communities, vote Green on 5 May.Tony Dyer commented:
The astonishing success of the Green Party's recent Election Broadcast clearly shows that it struck a chord with people who are sick and tired of the playground antics that too often dominates political debate. From standing up for the most disadvantaged, to taking real steps to alleviate Bristol's ever worsening housing crisis, Greens are committed to grown up politics that deliver real change."Daniella Radice, part of the team of that have been rapidly greening Bristol’s council, commented:
Greens will campaign tirelessly in coming weeks for measures to address the housing crisis and deliver decent homes for all. The party is committed to cap rents, introduce longer tenancies and license landlords to provide greater protection for renters. We will also break the stranglehold of the big volume builders, helping smaller builders, community groups and individuals build genuinely affordable homes and renovate more empty homes.
We call on this government to restore local peoples’ powers to protect their own environments, and to stop damaging and exploitative developments in our towns and countryside.
Where one part of government talks about devolution, in fact it is busy removing powers from local councils and the people they represent. The government must stop treating local communities like children. Local people know what is best for their areas and must have a real say over new developments. They should be able to say no to polluting industries, fracking, and unaffordable housing built by exploitative developers – all to the benefit of investors rather than local people.The Green Party is opposed to the centralising proposals in the Housing and Planning Bill which will further undermine the ability of Local Councils to insist on truly affordable homes, or negotiate with major developers.
Cllr Radice added:
It is no coincidence that the Conservative administration has received so much funding from the same property tycoons and investors who will benefit from this centralisation of control. We call on the government to halt this damaging bill, and enable local councils to build the affordable homes we desperately need.