1. The Green Party will fight austerity and welfare cuts at home and in Europe.
The Green Party offers real change, for the common good.
To find out more why not have a look at our 2017 Green Guarantee
More and more Sutton residents are becoming aware of the sheer size of the Beddington incinerator as construction nears completion The Green party continues to be the only party opposed in principle to this toxic health hazard.
We condemn Sutton Council for their unequivocal support for Viridor’s incinerator, and we call upon the council to launch an independent inquiry, covering the allegations of corruption which have not been covered in the High Court. Moving forwards we support independent air quailty monitoring until an inquiry is launched. Residents are understandably sceptical of council pronouncements on this issue. We condemn the unsuitable location of the facility on Metropolitan Open Land, adjacent to a major projected Regional Park and a wildlife site of London-wide significance.
Campaign: Stop the Incinerator
We fully support the campaign to retain a full range of services, including A&E and maternity, at St Helier Hospital in Carshalton.
The Sustainability and Transformation Plan for South West London (STP), otherwise known as the “South West London Five Year Forward Plan” states that:
“Collectively, across south west London, we are already overspending by around £140m a year. If we do not take action to transform services now, south west London’s NHS faces a gap of up to £828m by 2020/21 between the money it has to spend and the money it would need.”
So the local NHS is being underfunded by £828 million pounds over the five years. This is unacceptable.
The STP also states that the St Helier
“building requires some immediate investment in 2016-17 and 2017-18 to ensure that it remains safe for the next two years. Dependent on decisions made on reconfiguration, we may need an investment of more than £200m towards the end of the five year period to bring the building up to standard and to replace the existing ward capacity.”
The Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust has already had to sell land from the Sutton Hospital site to pay for new windows and other work to make St Helier waterproof. If South West London’s NHS is needing to save £828m, is St Helier going to get the investment it needs? Will we have to lose more NHS land?
Now, Conservative Paul Scully seems to be content with an urgent care centre where there is currently an A&E and only having one A&E across the Epsom and St Helier Trust. This will cause confusion among patients about where to go for treatment and make travelling times longer for many residents of this area. We will fight any proposals to downgrade a hospital which has relatively good access by road compared with other local hospitals in South London and which is performing so well.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both claim to be fighting for St Helier, but both parties voted for the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which increased the use of outsourcing to private contractors in the NHS. The administration of this outsourcing costs billions of pounds every year, money that should have been used on patient care, NHS hospitals and surgeries.
In the end, the decision on whether to keep St Helier as an acute hospital lies with the South West London NHS. We will fight to keep all of our services here.
Campaign: Keep our NHS Public
The Green Party is calling for the statutory minimum wage to be immediately lifted to Living Wage levels and for a £10 per hour minimum wage for all by 2020.
The Green Party, the only party committed to delivering real change for the common good, believes every worker over 16 should be paid at least the minimum wage and would abolish the age-based differential rates currently in place. Raising the minimum wage to living wage levels would benefit an estimated 5.2million people (1) – 17% of the working population – and usher in a fairer society where fewer workers are trapped in poverty pay conditions.
The Green Party supports the London Living Wage campaign (currently a minimum of £8.80 per hour) and we welcome Sutton Council’s recent U turn on this issue having previously refused to support it. We call on the new council to honour that pledge.
Information: The Green Party calls for a £10 minimum wage for all
Sutton council's recycling figures have stagnated over the past decade, leaving it in the bottom 100 authorities in the country. Official data placed Sutton 35th out of 390 councils in 2003, but now latest figures put Sutton 276th out of 351 in 2015/16. For a council which has always trumpeted its ‘green’ credentials, these figures are an embarrassment. All other local authorities including Kingston, Merton and Croydon have overtaken Sutton.
Sutton Council’s promotion of the unnecessary, polluting and expensive incinerator in Beddington represents a further capitulation which will send even more valuable resources up in smoke.
The Green party is committed to a ‘Zero waste strategy’. This means using a range of modern technologies to reclaim as much of our waste a s possible, using for example digesters, mechanical and biological treatments to reduce the waste stream to a very small residue. We are also committed to looking at better ways to encourage both businesses and residents to recycle, learning from best practice elsewhere. At the same time it needs concerted action at the ‘front end’ of the waste stream to reduce the growing volume of unnecessary packaging and waste being manufactured.
Letter: Recycling create jobs
1) Issuing an ‘Article 4’ direction, in consultation with the local community, to restrict permitted development rights, and to ensure that where there is a change of use, a planning application is required.
2) Ensuring that all local plans clearly prioritise high streets and town centres by implementing policy within their local plan to safeguard community facilities.
3) Registering important local services as a community assets (introduced by the Localism Act 2011), giving communities the power to postpone the sale for up to six months and ensuring the council consider this when a planning application comes in against a specific facility.
Save our green spaces from industrialisation
Unbeknown to the vast majority of local residents, licenses for oil and gas drilling have already been issued to NorthdownEnergy Limited in an area from Epsom through Sutton to Croydon. Some of these licences may be used to conduct exploratory drilling work to see whether fracking - a highly controversial process involving drilling into the ground and injecting fluid at high pressure to fracture shale rocks which release natural gas - could be carried out in the borough.
Our parks and woods are for our enjoyment. The Green Party will oppose all exploration for gas and oil in our green spaces. Hydraulic fracturing will contaminate ground water, could increase the risk of earth tremors and will industrialise our green spaces.
Across London, Greens have campaigned for lower speed limits at vulnerable places such as shopping streets and schools; we will continue to prioritise this issue along with promoting taking greater account of cyclists and pedestrians in road layout improvements.
We also want to see these improvements extended to the main route network across London and in this borough. Currently this is not happening, as at Hackbridge where recent road alterations may place cyclists at greater risk from heavy goods vehicles.
Alongside physical improvements we demand that tighter controls on emissions be rolled out to protect health: we would do this by extending the low emission zone, policing it more vigorously and introducing new Ultra low emission zones in critical locations.
Air pollution throughout London is a silent scandal, causing some 4000 premature deaths in the city each year. On the London assembly elected greens have consistently campaigned to tackle this issue, with some successes.
Information: Air Quality News
Campaign: 20's Plenty for Us
Public transport should be a service, not a business. Transport policy should be decided on the basis of public need – not for the benefit of corporate shareholders. We will make walking and cycling safer – better for our health and the environment.
Locally our roads are becoming more clogged with traffic. There is no easy answer to this but we need to work vigorously to encourage a ‘modal shift’ to public transport, cycling and walking. We welcome recent investment in cycle lanes but too often these routes lack joined-up thinking and have more to do with box ticking in terms of lengths built. Cycle lanes which go nowhere won’t be used and represent poor value for money.
The Green party would make it a priority to work with local groups and organisations to draw up a borough-wide green transport strategy which would incorporate among other aspects the safe routes to school strategy and a co-ordinated and articulated borough-wide cycle network.
Sutton like all other areas needs more homes. We support a diverse mixture of new housing and welcome Sutton Council’s declared intentions to look at constructing new council housing in some locations. However we condemn heavy handed treatment of tenants in existing estates such as at Richmond Green in Beddington and ‘ORLIT’ homes residents in Carshalton where tenants have been pressurised into vacating homes and given inadequate compensation.
New housing needs to be of good quality and design, and built with the future environment in mind. This means considering appropriate levels of open space, pressure on existing local infrastructure, and flood protection. The Hackbridge area is proposed to be a major development area and we do not want the sustainable suburb Local Plan aim to be lost in the rush to develop sites like Hackbridge Station and adjacent land already potentially blighted by the incinerator.
End Sutton Council’s dirty investments policy - Sutton Council must adopt an ethical investment policy for its Council Pension Fund. For example, Sutton council is investing millions of pounds in the tobacco industry while at the same time having a responsibility for public health.
Sutton council is one of the country’s most reactionary, claiming that tobacco is a good investment! Yet Imperial Tobacco, which has close to half the UK market, has lagged behind the FTSE 100 by around 20% over the past year. We would end this hypocrisy and ensure pension investments are placed in socially and environmentally responsible companies, many of which are top financial performers. The Council must put people’s health first.
Support local businesses - Sutton Council is a major employer with a huge budget. Its procurement policies represent an enormous potential to boost local businesses. Greens support the awarding of council contracts to properly accredited local businesses, and we say that where a local firm can deliver a contract council policy should aim to award contracts locally.
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