The Green Party is an accredited Living Wage Employer
The London Green Party are seeking an Election Campaign Press Officer, whose job will be to work closely with the European and Local Elections Campaign Team to enhance media presence, implement a coherent media strategy and to organise media events and campaign launches.
Media Officer Matt Hawkins said: "This is a pivotal role. The person selected will work to ensure that the London Green Party candidates and campaign messages are given maximum media publicity in the final months of our election campaign."
The Lewisham and Camden Green Party role will focuse on supporting their local election campaigns by encouraging and co-ordinating volunteers and assisting in the organisation of leaflet distribution and canvassing.
Both posts will start in January and all candidates must be sympathetic with the aims of the Green Party to create a fairer and more sustainable London.
For more information on either post please see our jobs section.
Baroness Jenny Jones AM has critisized the missed opportunity to increase energy efficiency in London's homes. Image courtesy of Don from USA.
According to provisional annual data published by Office of National Statistics, the number of excess winter deaths amongst 75-84 year olds in London during 2012/13 was 900, a 36 per cent increase on the 660 recorded in 2011/12. However, across all ages, there was 100 fewer excess deaths recorded in 2012/13 compared to the 2,800 recorded in 2011/12, a 3.6 per cent improvement.
Research has shown that the UK in Europe has amongst the highest rates of fuel poverty and excess winter deaths with the poor energy efficiency of our housing stock emerging as the main cause.
The Mayor of London missed his own 200,000 homes energy saving retrofit target by 2012 through his RE:NEW programme by only managing 99,000 homes. In a written answer to Jenny Jones, Boris Johnson said ‘I have not set a target for the number of properties assessed and/or retrofitted in London under the Green Deal’.
Jenny said: “Even with this tiny overall improvement, it’s still a national scandal that 2,700 Londoners died from the cold because of some of the worst fuel poverty levels and energy inefficient homes in Europe.”
“The Mayor missed a real opportunity to help an additional hundred thousand London households when he failed to meet his own target to tackle energy inefficient homes. He also ignored warnings to put far more resources behind the Green Deal to maximise its early uptake. This resulted in a massive drop in the number of home insulation assessments, let alone completions"]]>
@GreenpeaceUK's artistic reponse twitter to the alleged "green crap" comments ,
referring to Cameron's previous pledge to lead "the greenest government ever"
The comments were allegedly made in reference to green levies on energy bills. Ms Lambert responded by challenging the Prime Minster to set out some alternative proposals for reducing energy use and helping fund the next generation of clean, renewable power generation.
She said: "Given that the green taxes Mr Cameron is today reported to have described as 'green crap' are designed to reduce energy use and help pay for the next generation of power through clean renewable sources, the question is: how will he achieve those goals by other means?
"As over 60% of the rise in bills is due a rise in wholesale prices of energy from 2010 to 2012, how will bills be reduced if there is no comprehensive effort to reduce energy consumption and provide alternative, domestic renewable resources?"
Next week Jean will host a "Green Economy Conference", including speakers such as EU Comissioner Laszlo Andor and TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady. The 'green' sector is already worth £25.4bn a year - and employs more than 163,000 people - in London alone, according to a recent report from the London Assembly.
TUC Secretary General Frances O'Grady said:
"Investment in green technology could boost growth and create hundreds of thousands of high quality jobs. But just at the point at which government needs to step up this investment it is considering cutting off vital support provided through green levies.
"We need to make the case that green investment will create jobs, boost growth, reduce fuel bills, improve the UK's energy security and help to reduce carbon emissions."
For more information about Jean Lambert MEP's Building Our Green Economic Future on Friday 29th November and to register, please visit our event listing here.]]>
Green MEP Jean Lambert (right) with Malala Yousafzi (centre) as she collects her human rights award at the European Parliament.
The teenage schoolgirl was awarded the EU's top human rights award - the Sakharov Prize - for her work promoting education for girls.
Speaking as she received the award, Malala - whose autobiography 'I am Malala' has become an inspirational global best-seller - said we should judge a country not by its weapons or the size of its army but by its levels of education and gender equality
The 16-year-old, who was shot - alongside two other schoolgirls Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan - by Taliban fighters last year for campaigning against a ban on girls attending school in her home, Pakistan's Swat Valley, has been a tireless advocate for women and girl's rights since she was just 11 years old.
London MEP Jean Lambert, who joined members of other political groups to nominate Malala for the 2013 Sakharov Prize, said it was well-deserved.
"Malala Yousafzi is an inspiration to all of us - and this prize is well-deserved."
Ms Lambert, the capital's Green MEP and Chair of the European Parliament's delegation to South Asia - which includes Pakistan - added: "Malala has been a tireless campaigner for the rights of women and girls, and for universal education, and it is fitting that the EU has chosen to honour someone working hard to eliminate the gender discrimination which, sadly, is so prevalent around the world today.
"This is a real step forward in entrenching the importance of investing in girls in the work of the European Parliament."
"Ironically, in attempting to silence her, the Taliban have amplified her message."]]>
Lambeth Green Party has selected Lambeth mum Rachel Laurence as their candidate for the Vassal ward by-election on the 28th November.
Speaking on their website, Rachel said: "I am standing for the Greens because I believe ordinary people in Lambeth should be able to live in affordable homes, earn decent wages, get proper health-care locally when they need it, and breathe clean air."
Rachel has worked for years as a community campaigner in London supporting children, families and community organisations to work for change and hold decision makers to account. She is now standing for election so that she can push the Labour Lambeth council to fulfill the commitments it made in response to pressure from the Greens to pay employees and subcontractors the London Living Wage.
The motion to support the principle of the Living Wage was proposed by Green Councillor Becca Thackeray (2006-10) and was passed by Lambeth Council in 2009. Although Labour Councillors initially resisted extending this commitment to subcontractors, it later did so after facing pressure from Greens and local campaigners.
4 years on, however, the Labour led council is still yet to honour its commitment to stop its "poverty pay".
Rachel has also pledged to sort out Lambeth’s plummeting recycling rate. DEFRA recently released data showing that the borough has one of the fastest falling rates of recycling in London - despite London wide targets to increase recycling rates to 45% by 2015.
If elected, Rachel will prevent a repeat of the Council's shocking attempt to pass off incineration of waste as ‘recycling’ to pretend its record is improving, as it did last year.
Rachel added: "The Vassal Ward by-election is a clear choice between voting in one more Labour councillor to join the 43 out of 63 already in the council, or bringing in some real scrutiny and fresh thinking.
"The Labour council is implementing government cuts without a fight, freezing council tax for the wealthiest while taking away council tax benefit from those who earn the least, axing social housing and cutting public services."
Rachel wants to see the council fight the bedroom tax, rather than evict those who can’t afford it. If elected she will lobby the council to reduce its waiting list of over 27000 households, instead of evicting tenants from short life housing to sell it off to developers.
For more information about London by-elections the Green Party are contesting, please see here.
Jenny Jones (left) and Green Party Local Transport Spokesperson
Caroline Russell at a "Critical Mass" demonstration
Green Assembly members have urged the Mayor to tackle the real problem of HGVs, buses and dangerous junctions and stop the "insulting" practice of victim blaming.
Despite this, however, the Met responded to the death by holding an exercise this morning targeting cyclists. Police were stopping those on bikes and advising them to wear helmets and high viz jackets, despite no scientific evidence that such measures improve safety and no legal requirement to wear them.
20 lorries were stopped, with 60 faults on them - yet no fines were issued.
Jenny Jones said:
“The longer the Mayor delays taking action, the more cyclists will die. A morning rush hour ban on HGVs is the minimum the Mayor can do to make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians. He should consult on this proposal immediately, as waiting for others to act on safety improvements such as European lorry design rules, could take years.”
“The Met Police do valuable work taking illegal vehicles and drivers off the roads, but targeting cyclists who don’t wear helmets, or hi-viz clothing, would be a bad exercise in blaming the victims and completely unacceptable. The Met Police can’t go around making up new laws. They should be using an evidence based approach to making our roads safer, which would mean tackling significant problems such as speeding, car dooring, faulty vehicles and taking illegal drivers off the roads. ”]]>
At the Wronga cake sale today: LYG Campaign Officer Benali Hamdache, London Green Party Students Officer Paul Cohen, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, MEP candidate Amelia Womack and Young Green Ernestas Jegorovas.
The Green Party reiterated its call for the government to step in and cap the cost of payday loans ahead of their “wronga” bake sale organised outside the headquarters of the payday loans company Wonga In Marylebone.
The demo, which was organised by the Young Greens – the branch of the Green Party for students and the under 30s – saw members of the party giving out free cake to the public so long as it is returned with a 5853% interest rate. Any potential customers were informed that accepting one cupcake would see them tied-into a contract to pay back 5 cakes every month, or 58 cakes a year.
Speaking ahead of the demo, London Young Greens Campaigns Officer Benali Hamdache said:
"Wonga take advantage of the poorest in society through their eye-popping interest rates. Our "wronga" bake sale is our way of hammering home the rampant profiteering that is at the heart of the Wonga business model."
"The Green Party has passed policy calling for the capping of the cost of payday loans, as well as more stringent credit checks for payday loan applicants. Government must bring in regulation to reign in the behaviour of payday loan firms. We represent one of the few countries without a law on capping the cost of credit. It's why the UK is seen as a prime financial opportunity for these immoral payday loan firms. It's time to end that."]]>
A candlelit bike was lit at the Cycle Safe Vigil at Bow Roundabout
Image: Caroline Russell
Green Party campaigners last night joined forces with road safety and cycling campaigners at a vigil at Bow Roundabout, the site of the 4th death, to call on the Mayor to do more to protect lives in London. Green Party Local Transport Spokesperson Caroline Russell, who was one of those at the "Space For Cycling" protest, said:
"The carnage on the streets of London over the last week is horrifying and my thoughts are with all those families coping with the brutal experience of road death and injury. The Mayor must change his policies and allow Transport for London to design streets that are safe for people to walk and cycle rather than prioritising freight movement at any cost."
Darren Johnson, Green London Assembly Member, responded to the news by calling on the Mayor Boris Johnson to stop placing responsibility on the shoulders of dead and injured cyclists:
“The Mayor mustn’t keep dodging responsibility for these tragic deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads. Four out of the five deaths of cyclists in the last nine days have involved either his blue paint or his red buses."
“The Mayor’s comments this morning which targeted cyclists breaking the law as the primary cause of death and serious injury is an attempt to blame the victims, rather than tackling the real problem of HGVs, buses and dangerous junctions"
Darren also highlighted the Mayor's worrying attempts to lay the blame at the door of cyclists, despite Department of Transport evidence that the vast majority of cycling accidents are not the victims fault. The Mayor is still yet to apologise for misleading Londoners on this issue when questioned by Green Assembly Member Baroness Jenny Jones (above).
Darren said: “The Mayor has consistently failed to apologise for using dodgy statistics to blame cyclists for their own deaths and injuries, despite the admission that those figures were fundamentally wrong. It is an insult to the dead and injured that the Mayor continues to blame victims in this way, rather than accepting his responsibility and getting on with fixing the things he has direct control over.”
Read Caroline Russell's article in the Huffington Post: Victim Blaming is Not the Answer
Sign the London Cycling Campaign's Petition telling the Mayor to stop cycling deaths now]]>
In the last month, 5 of the "Big Six" energy firms have announced price increases. Although energy firm bosses have since been called infront of MPs to defend their price hikes, Green Party figures have expressed doubts that the Government is serious about breaking "the stranglehold" of the Big Six, with Caroline Lucas MP saying "It might be easier to take the Energy Secretary...seriously if dozens of employees from the Big Six were not working inside his department, often paid for by taxpayers."
Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett has questioned why energy prices have gone up by 9% on average when wholesale gone up by 1.7% this year, adding "we need a serious focus on energy conservation, particularly home insulation left, to end the scandal exposed today by the Children Society of the more than half of the 3 million children living in poverty who say their home is uncomfortably cold. We need to look to renewable energy and we need to provide a secure investment environment that could see the development of the renewable energy manufacturing sector."
Greens in the London Borough of Barnet have responded by reminding local councils that they have the ability and the duty to do more to help residents. Speaking in a letter to the Barnet and Potters Bar Times, local party Spokesperson A M Poppy said:
"As our energy bills rise, we have a right to ask: what is our council doing for us. Local councils do have the power (pun intended) to take actions including: helping us save energy (by organising mass building insulation for example); assisting us in finding good energy deals (by joining London’s Big Energy Switch that uses collective negotiations with the energy companies to get a better deal); and most interestingly, investing in generating energy for us and bringing down prices, improving energy security, cutting carbon emissions and making Barnet more resilient. This can involve installing micro renewables, generating energy from waste plants, geothermal and biomass."
In her letter, Poppy highlighted councils such as Bristol and Aberdeen who have already helped residents. "The only reason that more councils don't pursue this is the lack of experience and expertise in the public sector. Barnet borough is filled with the relevant experience and expertise. Let the council start using it for our benefit."
"The energy crisis is not going away, and what better purpose does the council have than to help us be stronger, greener and richer?"
A section of Green Assembly Member Jenny Jones's file, published on the MayorWatch site.
Following a Freedom of Information request, which cost a £10 administratin fee, the Green Assembly Member was given access to her file, which she described as "trivial and such a waste of police time". Speaking at a recent Police and Crime Committee meeting she told the Deputy Met Commisioner "quite honestly I want my money back".
Labelling the file as "pathetic", Jenny describe its contents on twitter shortly after receiving the file in August as "just a collection of entries regarding speeches I made in Trafalger Square and my own twitter comments." She revealed that the file also contained a tweet she made announcing her selection as the Green Party Mayoral Candidate.
Although the Green Peer joked that she had expected the file to be thicker, she put pressure on the Met to explain why the intelligence was authorised: "How much did it cost to compile this? How many hours were spent compiling it when the police could have been doing some police work? I want to know who actually is the person who authorised the collection of so much trivia on an elected politician. What is the Mayor doing about this - is he concerned at all?"
She added: "My concern is that this is incredibly intrusive into people's lives on a level that is not of any value."
This is not the first time Jenny has held to Met to account on its intrusive surveillence tactics. She recently condemned a court ruling that Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) allows superintendants to authorise undercover police officers to engage in sexual relationships with innocent people in order to potentially gather intelligence. Ms Jones said:
"I find this shocking and I think the public will too. It is time for Parliament to amend RIPA and for a public inquiry to restore trust in the police.”
Jenny has also spoken out against a decision made by the Court of Appeals that the human rights case against police officers who had sexual relationships and even fathered children with environmentalists in an attempt to gain information shoud be heard in a closed court.
"If justice is to be done and seen to be done then it cannot happen behind closed doors."
“The Met paid no regard for the privacy of these women when their officers infiltrated their lives and homes and families. However, they seem determined to wash their dirty laundry in private and refuse to be scrutinised on this issue. How can the women, not to mention the public, have confidence in this system of policing if we are unable to participate in it?
Jenny has now asked members of the Police and Crime Committee of all political parties to request their files.]]>
Between today and January 28 every Green party member or sympathiser in Europe over the age of 16 will have the opportunity to have a direct say in selecting the two leading Green candidates for the 2014 European parliament elections in the Green Primary.
Each of these candidates has won support from at least four European Green parties to proceed to this point of the selection.
The candidates are:
A list of the parties that backed them can be found here.
The candidates will be speaking at a hustings on the 18th January 2014, hosted by the London Green Party and available to both members and non-members.
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said: “This primary is an experiment in extending European democracy well beyond its former limits.
“It will be the first-ever pan-European primary election, a chance for 16 and 17-year-olds to influence a vote from which they are otherwise excluded, and we hope will provoke a wide debate not just about the contenders but about the possibility of giving citizens a much broader say in European decisionmaking.
“I’m pleased that while other leading groups in the European parliament are expected to pick one person to be their leading ‘face’ of the campaign – all of them predicted to be male – the European Green Party has maintained its tradition of joint leadership, and its insistence on a female presence of at least 50%.
“I’ve just been in Brussels where the four candidates were introduced to the European Green family. They make an impressive field, and I’m confident there’s going to be considerable interest in them, and in this innovative, groundbreaking process. I’m really looking forward to the London hustings on January 18.” (That hustings will be held at the ICO Conference Centre, Berners St, W1T 3DD from 2.30-4pm.)
How does it work?
The online vote opened today. Everyone living in the EU, who's above the age of 16 and who shares Green values (ticking a box to so indicate) can register and vote online, until January 28.
The contender with the highest number of votes will be elected. The second winner will be the person with the next highest number of votes who is from another national list. If the first contender elected is a man, the second winner will be the woman with the highest number of votes.
Register for the London hustings here
On Twitter the debate will take place through #greenprimary
Green MEP candidate Caroline Allen called the £720k
"affordable" home "a new and depressing landmark in
London's housing madness"
Advertised on sharetobuy.com - which describes itself as ‘making housing affordable' - the property has an estimated total monthly cost £2,444 which includes: rent of £1,125, a service charge of £320 and a mortgage of £999 on the quarter share purchased. Affordable usually means takes no more than 35% of take-home pay. If this were a couple splitting the costs they would still each need to be earning £60,000 each to cover the cost - yet the advert stipulates that household income must be below £66,000. meaning this flat is very far from affordable.
"It is really worrying that people who can only afford a £180,000 share are being tied in to these other very high fees because they can't afford to access the market in other ways, where they are likely to get a better deal overall.
"These examples show not only how the whole idea of “affordable” housing has become a massive con under Mayor Boris Johnson, but are also an illustration that Islington is not getting the sort of homes it desperately needs, in spite of the claims of the council regarding home building."
Caroline also criticised Islington Council for failing to impose their own minimum requirements for the proportion of new developments that must be affordable: "in the case of the Loxfords in Highbury they did not even force the developers to meet the full 50% requirement".
Green Party London Assembly member Darren Johnson, in his recent report on housing in London, Crumbs for Londoners (video introduction, above), revealed two-thirds of new properties being built are sold for investment and a third go to overseas investors, leaving most Londoners with little choice but a lifetime of insecure renting.
The report also found that homes are unnecessarily demolished to make way for new luxury flats, pushing low-income Londoners out.
In the light of this evidence, Caroline called on the Mayor and Local Councils to put the needs of Londoners before those of millionaire investors and developers:
"Housing wealth is trickling into a smaller number of hands, including people who leave the homes they buy empty.
"Residents are trampled on, rather than being empowered. The Mayor says he wants very little affordable housing built, which is leading to a severe social housing shortage.
"Greens are calling on the Mayor to champion social housing and to introduce stabilising rent controls and controls on investors to tip the scales in favour of residents. These dangerous and misleading “affordable” homes cons must be stopped.
"In addition, the council needs to ensure its planning policies are promoting the sort of housing Islington needs and not pandering to developers as we have previously seen."
London Green and Party Welfare Spokesperson Romayne Phoenix (centre left, green scarf)
joined protestors against the governments package of welfare and public service cuts
Romayne Phoenix, London Green and Party Welfare Spokesperson was one of those who marched across London and onto Westminster Bridge in protest against government austerity economics and privatisation plans. Speaking ahead of the night, she said:
"I believe that we are faced with a choice, like so many others around the world, to allow market forces to dominate or to demand a better future where we can start to tackle inequalities and climate change for the sake of us all and future generations. A capitalist economic model will not work for the interests of the many or the protection of our delicately balanced ecology.
We must not underestimate the challenges ahead. The government has succeeded in selling the necessity for cuts diverting blame for the economic crisis on to the cost of the welfare state. There are now a million in receipt of housing benefits but the government won't tell you that these are people working for poverty wages. They don't say that the housing crisis continues to drive up private rental costs. Who is benefitting from housing benefit? Landlords, not tenants. Many are now struggling to meet household costs, increasingly relying on pay day loans or using credit cards in the supermarket."
She added: "We must begin to actively resist the direction of this governments policies, planning together to demand changes. We need to unite together to make our opposition heard. Working locally and joining forces together nationally we can resist this government's ideological onslaught and together we can win."
Green MEP Jean Lambert, centre, with Clean Air director Simon Birkett and local campaigner
According to data published yesterday by Public Health England the percentage of deaths attributed to tiny particles (PM2.5), which are mainly spewed out from vehicle exhausts, rose in fifteen London boroughs in 2011, compared to the previous year.
In the two of the worst affected boroughs, Westminster and Islington, over 8% of mortality in 2011 was attributable to vehicle emission pollutants. In London as a whole, as many as 4,000 premature deaths are thought to have been caused by air pollution last year - more than as a result of either alcohol misuse or obesity.
In the wake of this news, Green Peer and London Assembly Member Jenny Jones has urged the Mayor to take the threat posed by car use seriously. "It is extremely disappointing that so many Londoners are being exposed to even higher levels of pollution from vehicles. The Mayor tells us he is acting to reduce pollution, but whatever he is doing, it's clearly not enough. He must act now to bring effective measures to protect Londoners from excessive, dangerous and illegal levels of vehicular pollution”
“We need more electric vehicles, especially buses and vans, but the simplest solution is to reduce the total amount of traffic on our roads. The two key steps the Mayor needs to take to make this happen are to lower fares and to create a safe space for people to cycle.”
Meanwhile, Green MEP for London Jean Lambert joined local campaigner Chris Smith and Clean Air in London founder and director Simon Birkett to visit some of Tower Hamlets' air pollution hotspots.
In the last year alone 71 people have died prematurely as a result of poor air quality in Tower Hamlets alone: a higher proportion of preventable deaths than in neighbouring boroughs Hackney and City of London - and one of the highest levels in the UK.
Ms Lambert, Green MEP for London, said the number of deaths was a tragedy - and called for immediate action.
"Every one of these 71 victims was somebody's father, mother, son or daughter, and is a personal tragedy for family and friends.
"We know that air pollution levels are higher in Tower Hamlets than in most of the rest of the country - and far in excess of levels permitted by EU safety rules."
She echoed Jenny's criticism of the Mayors failure to protect Londoners: "Rather than try to deal with the problem we know that London Mayor Boris Johnson has tried to cover up the problem - and that he has sought to water down EU safety legislation rather than comply with it.
Following discussions with a number of local residents during her walking tour of the borough, she added: "People are surprised to learn that just last month the World Health Organisation classified air pollution as a significant cause of lung cancer - and in this, the EU ‘Year of Air', we need Tower Hamlets to adopt a significant programme of monitoring, mitigation and education to bring the number of these tragic cases down."]]>
Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett said: "We can only hope this can act as a spur towards wider reform of this house, which has been promised for more than a century."
Both women, who were hand-picked by Baroness Jones to be included in the ceremony as her supporters, for their inspirational work in the campaigning and legal fields.
Ms Jones was chosen as the Green Party nomination by a ballot of all members of the Green Party of England and Wales. She has been a London Assembly Member for 13 years, which has included being Deputy Mayor of London, and prior to that was Chair of the National Green Party Executive.
Speaking before her introduction Baroness Jones commented: "Being in the House of Lords means I'll be able to do more, perhaps achieve more transparency, on issues like the scandal of undercover police having sex with targets or on the appalling inequality in society, where the rich/poor divide is opening wider every year. Now I can not only speak out, but I can vote on bills that could really make a difference."
Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett added: "Jenny will be an excellent addition to the second chamber, and one small step towards political balance there. Of course a full-elected chamber, on the basis of a proportional vote, would produce a body entirely reflecting the democratic wishes of the British people."
"We can only hope this can act as a spur towards wider reform of this house, which has been promised for more than a century."
Baroness Grey-Thompson said: “I am delighted that Baroness Jones is joining us in the House of Lords. I was excited about welcoming her, and being part of her introduction ceremony because it brings another important perspective in to the Chamber. It is a huge privilege to be picked as a supporter for a new Peer.”
Click here for more info on Jenny's work in the London Assembly]]>
Jenny Jones AM has called for the Mayor of London to look at ways to start making the London Living Wage mandatory during the second Living Wage Week.
Jenny Jones right, with Green Party activists
Despite previously telling the London Assembly his ambition was for all companies to pay the Living Wage, the Mayor is only aiming to sign up 250 out of the 1,350 big businesses in London by 2016. By that date there may still be 650,000 Londoners on poverty wages.
The Mayor has talked about lobbying Whitehall for years but has failed to raise it at meetings with ministers. When questioned, he failed to cite a single example of a time he has lobbied the Government on the issue, despite making a pledge to do so in his election manifesto.
Green Assembly Member Jenny Jones has a long history of calling for Londoners to be paid a mandatory Living Wage, most recently in her report Closing the Gap.
Speaking at the beginning of the Living Wage Week 2013, Jenny said: “The living wage campaign has been a stunning success, but now it is time for the Mayor to ensure everyone in London is paid a wage they can build a life on. A few living wage zones won’t help the hundreds of thousands of Londoners who aren’t paid enough to cover their rent and bills. The Mayor needs to tackle the big businesses and government departments that can afford to pay a living wage.
“Paying everyone a living wage would slash the benefit bill, freeing up billions over the next few years for the Mayor to invest in job creation schemes like housing and renewables. This could help to offset any extra unemployment created.”]]>
Responding to the government's announcement that universal credit is today being rolled out to just one Jobcentre, Hammersmith in London, Romayne Phoenix the Party's spokesperson on Welfare said:
"The Green Party has long opposed the government's universal credit scheme on ideological grounds. By sapping money from the poor and making victims of anyone who needs benefits, the programme is a perfect example of the heartless policies this government sees fit to deliver."
"The 'roll-out' of universal credit today also serves to expose the government's shambolic management of this project. Today this new welfare scheme should have begun its phased introduction across the country. Instead it's being trialed in a Jobcentre in Hammersmith. In one sense we're delighted that this mean-spirited policy is so far behind schedule but it raises serious questions about this government's competence in delivering their own welfare reforms".
The European Parliament today adopted a resolution calling for the suspension of the EU-US agreement on the exchange of bank transfer data, following the revelation that the US secret service NSA was also involved in the surveillance of SWIFT (the international bank transfer company).
After the vote, London’s Green Party MEP Jean Lambert stated:
"In calling for the EU-US SWIFT agreement to be suspended, the European Parliament has today sent a clear message that enough is enough.
“The revelations about NSA interception of SWIFT data make a mockery of the EU's agreement with the US, through which the bank data of European citizens is delivered to the US anti-terror system (TFTP).
“What is the purpose of an agreement like this, which was concluded in good faith, if the US authorities are going to circumvent its provisions?
"The EU cannot continue to remain silent in the face of these ongoing revelations: it gives the impression we are little more than a lap dog of the US.
“If we are to have a healthy relationship with the US, based on mutual respect and benefit, EU governments must not be afraid of defending core EU values when they are infringed. EU leaders must finally take a clear and unambiguous stance on the NSA violations at this week's summit."]]>
The Mayor of London refused to clamp down on developers insisting on separate entrances and lifts for affordable housing that help sell homes to investors, following questioning by Darren Johnson AM today at Mayor’s Question Time.
Darren asked about One The Elephant, a development of 284 flats with prices starting at £330,000 for a studio flat, twelve times the average wage, marketed in Hong Kong and Singapore, with no affordable housing in the development. The local council officer’s report stated that developers said affordable homes would reduce the sale value of private flats, and a separate entrance and lift would add too much to the cost of development.
“It’s outrageous that developers are trying to force ordinary Londoners to use the door round the back so they can sell luxury flats to rich investors. I’m disappointed that the Mayor refused to clamp down on this trend, which is like something out of Downton Abbey. He is helping rich investors build expensive flats, not Londoners get a home they can afford.
“The Mayor should threaten to refuse applications that segregate affordable housing. We also need taxes to damp down demand from rich investors, a social housing budget big enough to actually meet London’s needs, and regulation to stabilise private rents.”]]>
The number of cycle hires in September this year has decreased by 32% when compared to the same month in 2012, new Transport for London figures show.
In January 2013 cycle hire scheme access fees increased from £1 to £2 per day, £5 to £10 a week and £45 to £95 a year.
A TfL reportbased on data from December 2012 customer satisfaction surveys stated that there had been‘an increase in those saying that they will not renew their membership when it runs out; up to 20 per cent from eight per cent in June 2012’.
Darren Johnson AM commented:
"The steep decline in numbers using the cycle hire scheme and therefore the revenue raised from user fees poses questions over whether this heavily subsidised operation is really offering good value for money for the London taxpayer.
Given the very high capital costs of the scheme and the environmental, health and congestion-busting benefits of cycling, TfL should be encouraging the greatest possible use of the scheme by keeping user fees affordable instead of doubling them.
It may be that the drop in cycle hire usage reflects a dip in the growth of cycling more broadly across London, but the Mayor can address both problems by working with TfL to make our roads safer for cyclists and encouraging the uptake of cycling in our city, including on hire bikes.”]]>