Brighton and Hove Green Party today set out in their 2015 local election manifesto a vision for a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable city, building on the party’s four successful years as the UK’s first Green-led council.
Achievements since 2011 include a Living Wage scheme adopted by more than 200 companies in the city, the opening of two new primary schools, providing safer roads and cycle lanes across the city, transforming The Level into a Green Flag park, and brokering the agreement that will see the redevelopment of Circus Street Market, which has stood derelict for years, to provide homes, offices and creative spaces. In addition, the administration has started work on a programme that will yield more than 225 new council homes, helped secure Euro funding to develop the city’s highly successful digital sector and supported food banks and other organisations fighting Government-inflicted poverty.
During its four years at the helm, Brighton and Hove has gained accreditation as the World’s first ‘One Planet City’ and was declared the UK’s first UN Biosphere Reserve for 40 years.
Tom Druitt, local Party Chair stated, “In administration we have shown that despite massive Government cuts the Greens have been able to deliver a program for a fairer, more prosperous Brighton & Hove. Nationally Labour and the Conservatives are ideologically wedded to cuts to local services and it is only the Greens who have the long term vision to safeguard services and ensure our city continues to thrive.”
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, one of the Green Election Campaign Spokespeople announced:
“In the coming few years we will continue to unashamedly oppose the failed austerity programme of the three Westminster elite parties. When bodies as diverse as the Church of England, Friends of the Earth and Barnardos are challenging the Government’s agenda on austerity we need to continue to stand with the most vulnerable.
“Having been the first English council to declare a policy not to evict tenants because they couldn’t pay the ‘bedroom tax’, we will continue to be the voice in the Town Hall standing up for the marginalised. We have proven that we take equality of our citizens incredibly importantly and we will continue to champion our brilliantly diverse communities.
“Our Green-led City Council has also hoisted the ‘open for business’ sign high and shown it will work with partners for the long term, sustainable economic health of the city.
“9,000 new jobs have been created in the last 4 years including hundreds in construction and we will carry on pushing to retain our position as leader of business start-ups. Whole areas of the city have been transformed because we have pushed for a vision of a city that is relentless in its quest for success for everyone. Tony Mernagh, Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Business Forum and Executive Director of the Economic Partnership has said, “It surprised many, who thought a Green administration would be anti-business. The proof of the pudding has been they are not.”
“We will continue to build a better Brighton and Hove with the many homes that our city needs and jobs that we need, to carry on being head and shoulders above the rest. We want to continue to push appropriate brownfield development and continue on the trail of Circus Street which will be the next large regeneration project. This is why we can firmly say today, as our manifesto is unveiled, that we are indeed ‘Rejuvenating Brighton and Hove.’
“Only today has the new bike hub at Brighton station been opened, coming in the same week that we have won millions of pounds for more sustainable transport projects. We have only won that cash because our work is recognised as being worthwhile. So a city that offers safe and sustainable transport methods is very much part of our future vision.
“The future will be brighter for the planet and our citizens with the Greens making the decisions in the town hall. We are asking our citizens to come with us on the journey to make history again and Vote Green in the City Council elections on May 7th.”
The manifesto sets out ten top pledges should the Greens be elected to a second term:
1. Fight to maintain adequate funding for our city’s public services and resist privatisation
2. Champion equality, fairness and the rights of the poor and the marginalised in our communities
3. Continue to develop a strong, sustainable economy that creates jobs and opportunities, and support the community and voluntary sector to provide the vital services that so many of us rely on
4. Aim for the highest standards of education for our young people, and resist attempts to turn local authority schools into academies
5. Improve air quality and road safety by making walking and cycling safer and more attractive and by encouraging cleaner public transport
6. Facilitate the development of more housing projects in the city, prioritising truly affordable homes, council housing and support for the homeless
7. Continue to improve energy efficiency in our city’s buildings to fight fuel poverty and reduce the city’s carbon emissions
8. Further improve access to recreational and leisure activities around the city and to the beautiful National Park right on our doorstep
9. Continue to develop and promote Brighton & Hove as the country’s top seaside tourist destination
10. Continue to work towards the highest standards of animal welfare and for a ban on the use of animals in circuses and other entertainment in the city
Early reaction from other organisations in the city:
Dani Ahrens, organiser in the Living Rent Campaign: “The Living Rent Campaign welcomes the commitment by the Greens to extend licensing to all private landlords in the City to ensure basic standards of safety and decency for private tenants. We are also delighted to see the commitment to set up a living rent commission, which hopefully is a key step towards making Brighton and Hove Britain’s first Living rent city”
Becky Reynolds from Bricycles: “We welcome the emphasis on clean and safe transport for everyone which can be seen in the Green Party manifesto for Brighton and Hove. The commitments such as tackling dangerous road junctions, improving air quality, taking forward the crucial Valley Gardens scheme and developing more core routes for cycling would assist anyone who is out and about in the City, particularly anyone who wants to get on a bike. Bricycles is not politically affiliated, we’re an independent community group and we want to see good transport policy from all political parties.”
Elaine Toland, Director of the Animal Protection Agency: “Brighton & Hove Green Party has already clearly demonstrated its eagerness to secure genuine, long-lasting protection for animals and to be guided by the latest animal welfare science. Amongst other significant achievements, they ensured that the Council took the national lead in adopting a scheme to reduce impulse purchasing of pets. We are inspired by the hard work and ambition of Green Councillors and their commitment to improving the lives of captive and wild animals.”
Latest list of key achievements since 2011: www.brightonhovegreens.org/news/what-has-the-green-led-city-council-done-since-2011