Our Manifesto for York
The Green Party believes in a fairer society for everyone, within the limits of the natural environment on which we all depend for our day to day existence. Our vision for the future of York is for
- a city in which 'politics' is about ordinary residents engaging with decision-making, for example through direct participation in Council meetings, referenda, citizen's initiatives, and neighbourhood budgets. A culture of open government, where political parties look for common ground in the interests of citizens, rather than opposition for its own sake
- a city that is welcoming to new residents, visitors and people seeking our help, protecting its most vulnerable citizens and tackling low incomes and inequality - for example through actively promoting the take up of the Living Wage throughout the city. We will use Council powers and influence over rate relief, city centre business rents and other costs to support York's small business employers
- a city that invests in the future by increasing the supply of sustainable affordable housing and 'green' jobs, for example through maximising the use of empty buildings and upper floors, funding new build social housing, lobbying nationally for rent controls and prioritising the skills and investment needed to bring all our houses up to the highest standards of energy efficiency so we can all spend less on energy
- a city with less traffic, better transport and healthy residents. We will work with York residents to identify and implement solutions to York's traffic congestion and dangerously bad air quality. 'Quick wins' could include a free city centre shuttle bus, more evening bus services and far more active promotion of car-sharing
- a city that lives within its natural limits, protecting its special heritage and green spaces in the urban areas and in the Green Belt around the city. This will help with reducing future climate change, adapting to existing climate change and working to create local resilience. We oppose the excessively high housing numbers in the Local Plan and will put environmental sustainability at the core of the Plan, including strategies for local energy provision, more local food, flood resilience and less waste and more recycling, re-use and repair
A Green Council will lobby for the restoration of local service levels. The Council is set for yet another austerity budget for 2015/16 and there is no commitment from Labour nationally to restore funding levels. The Green Party General Election Manifesto will address long term deficit reduction but will argue that as the 6th largest economy in the world there is no excuse for failing to properly fund our public services, including local government.
The policies in our Manifesto for York are put forward in the context of the excessive cuts that local government has experienced in recent years – York's grant has been cut by 46% since 2011. The balanced budget put forward by our Green Councillors in February 2015 is in line with the policies in this manifesto within the current funding limitations. Where we were not able to include something in that budget we include it here as a longer term objective. We also indicate where we think national policy changes are needed.
Funding is crucial, however the Greens believe that the political will to make positive change happen is just as important. By working together with local residents and other political parties, being open to new ideas and learning from others a great deal can be achieved.