North Dorset Green Party Manifesto
Deliver local control and local access to services
Carefully monitor and control taxes raised locally and make sure they are spent prudently – taking opportunities for the council to generate its own income.
We will lobby for and deliver where possible devolved powers to be managed by local people in accordance with their needs.
Encourage the development of public transport that works for everyone to access jobs and services.
Council services to be where people need them not an hour’s journey away or only open one day a week.
Stop overdevelopment that only serves volume house builders
Provide actual local housing needs and not accept centrally planned targets.
Do not allow housing developments to be built or agreed without ensuring local services can support an increased population.
Set up Community Land Trusts to manage development where it is really needed for local people.
Support people to build their own affordable houses.
Encourage mixed use developments where local shops, employment opportunities and community facilities are integrated.
Ensure that everyone gets a living wage
The current minimum wage is not enough and has decreased in real terms whereas a living wage ensures that people in full time work earn enough to build a life on.
We will start by ensuring council workers and contractors are paid the current living wage - currently £7.85 per hour. We will also ensure that the gap between the highest paid and lowest paid council workers is no more than a factor of eight.
Loss of jobs to migrant workers will be discouraged if everyone is paid the living wage. We will also take action to ensure that existing pat legislation is enforced.
Keeping our money local
We want to see thriving local shops and high streets.
Spending money with local businesses keeps money circulating locally, instead of being sucked out of the area by big business with head offices in other countries where they may not pay their fair share of tax.
Supporting local businesses with fair and open council procurement.
Support small and medium sized business to get a fair deal with regulators and make sure that bigger companies they supply pay them on time.
Develop community owned projects so that the benefits stay local and services are preserved and expanded. , pubs, shops and other facilities.
Scrap planning restrictions that prevent people setting up small cottage industries at home.
Support the development of credit unions under local control, providing ethical finance for local businesses and residents.
We will investigate all local government investments including employees pension funds and produce a plan to move investments towards an ethical approach. This will include investment in local community renewable energy and divestment from fossil fuel.
We need to make sure vulnerable people are taken care of
Focus on reducing poverty by investing in a serious programme of insulation which would also create local jobs.
Ensure that care workers, child care and education workers and public sector workers are paid a living wage and no zero hour contracts so that we get the best people to take care of the sick and vulnerable.
End the use of food banks by those who are in full time work by promoting the living wage campaign.
Ensure that benefit claims are right first time and dealt with in a timely, fair and compassionate manner.
Accelerating toward a goal of North Dorset becoming energy self-sufficient
We will help communities take control of planning for their own energy needs so they can benefit from rapid take up of renewable technologies. With planning under local control and development being taken forward by Community Trusts and self-build housing there is proper incentive for new development to generate more energy than it uses.
Much electricity is lost in transmission through the grid through central power generation - the more we produce locally the less is wasted.
Large fossil fuel power stations only convert 40% of their heat energy to electricity – and a large amount of energy is also lost in transmission. Locally generated renewable energy is far more efficient.
North Dorset could produce 100% of its energy needs within 10 years by reducing energy wasted and investing in the local energy economy, creating jobs and bringing substantial amounts of money in to support local services.
Supporting the local agricultural economy
We aim to ensure that the true value of agriculture and food production, an important and integral part of North Dorset’s landscape, lifestyle and economy, is fully recognised and appreciated. Our part of the country has a very “clean green” image, we want to both maintain and develop that status and reputation.
We will support local farmers and food producers in providing to grow nutritious and healthy food and encourage distribution of local food in local outlets.
We will support community agriculture projects where communities want to take an active role in their own food production, promotion and distribution.
We want to see farmers, distributors and consumers be treated fairly and with the respect they deserve. It is vital that all parts of the food chain receive a fair share of the consumer spend, with the minimum of damaging fluctuation from season to season and year-to-year.
We respect animal welfare, reduced use of chemicals, artificial fertilisers and pharmaceutical products. We believe a precautionary approach which takes environmental, health, social and economic considerations in to account should be applied when considering the risks of any new technology into our environment, such as GM crops. We will ensure that we work from a strong independent evidence base, work collaboratively with others to achieve shared goals, whilst respecting each organisations or individuals different perspective and approach.
Agreed on the 8/01/15 – this is a working document – http://northdorset.greenparty.org.uk