After the Labour Party issued a leaflet this weekend making misleading claims about the Green Party, I am making a public commitment as Green Group leader that I and all our candidates will be running a positive and honest election campaign, focussing on the skills and energy of our candidates and our ideas for change toward improving the lives of local residents. Voters have had enough of politicians sniping at each other.
I call on all other parties and their candidates to make the same commitment.
The Labour Party leaflet claims that if you vote Green you get Tory. This is wrong on two counts. My landslide victory last year as the first Green Councillor on Hastings Borough Council proves that if you vote Green you get Green.
On the second count, that we voted with the Conservatives in some instances, yes, we have, for the reasons below.
One amendment which came up twice, both at full council and then again in a Conservative budget amendment, proposed that a cleaning contract should be awarded to a contractor who committed to paying the Living Wage and made commitments to protect the environment, a proposal that would have saved the council many thousands of pounds a year. This was in contrast to the council proposal which was to bring cleaning in-house.
The second amendment proposed that elections be moved to once every four years, following the pattern set by the rest of the councils in East Sussex. This would reduce the workload on already stretched officers as well as save money. The council needs to find around £2 million in savings in the upcoming year.
When other parties make sensible proposals we will support them regardless of political colour. We have voted to support Labour motions brought to full council, and for their part Labour have supported our amendments and motions.
We abstained on the budget as we don’t agree with public money being spent on two of the council’s major projects. The first would build a chain hotel on land that was allocated to housing in the current Local Plan. The second would build a restaurant at Harold Place with no proper disabled access, and both these constructions would be for a chain, which means all the profit would leave the town. Not only that, but the restaurant chain has made no commitment to paying a living wage to its workers.