Budget – New Faces, Old Tories

The first Conservative budget in twenty years has shown nothing has changed apart from the faces.

Despite being told “we are all in it together”, today’s budget shows nothing could be further from the truth.

Alternative Budget
Green Alternative Budget

On a day when hundreds of thousands of public sector workers were told their pay would be subject to ‘restraint’ that amounts to a further 10% cut in their standard of living on top of the 20% they have already suffered, a small number of wealthy business owners were told that the tax they pay on the profits of their companies would be cut again and again and when they spend those profits on million pound mansions they will be able to pass them on tax free to their children.

The public sector workers affected include nurses, policemen, care workers and many others. The very people that supply vital services to us all day in day out will yet again be hit for the benefit of the wealthy.

Does this really sound like we are all in together?

But there is an alternative. By supporting the Green Party you are supporting a fairer society that values all people, no matter what job they may do. By supporting the Green Party you are sending a message to the government to let them know that you don’t accept tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of our NHS, schools and police force.

Read the reactions to this budget by Natalie Bennett & Caroline Lucas.

Vote for change. Vote Green!

Red Fox & Cub

Foxhunting – Tamworth Greens Campaign

The Tories want to repeal the Hunting Act 2004!

Yes, you heard that right. David Cameron wants his government to reintroduce hunting foxes with dogs. Not only that, but our local MP Christopher Pincher agrees.

This is something that Tamworth Greens feels is just not acceptable so we have started this campaign to ensure that these plans don’t bear fruit.

Join us in making sure that Dave’s folly never gets off the ground. Visit our campaign page for more details.

And if you’re wondering what the Green Party thinks, read Caroline Lucas’s views on her website and also in The Independent.

Unlock Democracy!

Unlock Democracy Logo - copyright
Unlock Democracy Logo – copyright

Unlock Democracy is a grassroots campaign for democratic reform and participation.

Owned and run by its members, it aims to build a better democracy, reconnecting politics with ordinary people.

They campaign to reform the way our Parliament is elected and how it is run, want to limit the influence of big money in politics and empower people to decide how to run their local communities.

We like them a lot. So much, in fact, we’ve added them to our list of Issues links (see website menu).

We recommend you pay them a visit and get involved with their campaigns.

Hopwas Woods Plans: Our Position

Many of Tamworth’s residents have been stunned by the recent announcement on the proposed future for Hopwas Woods.

Simon Johnson – Tamworth and District Green Party Secretary – makes our position clear in this statement below.

There is no justification for LaFarge Tarmac’s application to destroy Hopwas Hayes Wood through quarrying and Tamworth Green Party supports the many local people who have leapt to the defence of this ancient woodland.

Not only does Staffordshire’s Minerals Local Plan already include sufficient sites to meet the county’s requirements for sand and gravel production, the company are completely – and no doubt deliberately – misrepresenting the definition of ancient woodland, to play down the impact of this proposed development.

Make no mistake – Hopwas Woods is ancient woodland, even if it includes an area damaged by fire in 1976: the point about ancient woodland is not the age of individual trees but the nature of the irreplaceable habitat, which is essential to the local area’s bio-diversity.

The company is also quoted in news reports as claiming the quarry site will only affect 20% of the woodland area, when plans clearly show it will affect considerably more than that.

One of the claims made is that the proposed quarry will create jobs. Whilst the Green Party welcomes the creation of employment opportunities, these always need to be balanced against the harm done and, in this case, the loss of such a rare and important habitat does not justify any economic or employment case. Jobs could also be created by making the most of the habitat management and leisure potential of the site – jobs which would not cost the earth.

The environment around Tamworth faces immense threats from all sides, such as the wholesale destruction of important and beautiful sites by the HS2 White Elephant and the government’s insane drive to increase our dependence on fossil fuels through fracking and other unconventional extraction methods. Destroying one of the remaining environmental and community land assets would be a crime.

We are pleased that Tamworth MP,  Chris Pincher is also getting behind the campaign to save the woods but don’t be fooled – the Conservative government’s fingerprints are all over this kind of corporate vandalism. The government’s Infrastructure Bill proposes that ”surplus” public land can be sold off without consultation or consideration of rights of way. As Hopwas Woods are jointly owned by the Ministry of Defence, this land is very vulnerable to being sold from under our noses to Lafarge Tarmac and used for quarrying, without local people having any chance to object.

We would urge everyone to object to these proposals through the County Council’s website – the Friends of Hopwas Woods have produced an excellent short newsletter explaining how to object and the arguments to make.

But also think very carefully before you vote in next year’s General Election. One of David Cameron’s many lies in 2010 was his claim to lead the greenest government ever. The government’s new planning guidance will lead to more ‘Hopwas Woods’ across the country being destroyed in the pursuit of corporate greed and we will all pay the price in the long run.

Useful links related to this article:

Stand up for our great NHS

Lisa Crane, Green Party candidate for Stoneydelph, writes:

Following an accident on Sunday, I found myself in Good Hope A and E Department with a deeply lacerated knee. We’ve all heard the jibes about ‘No Hope’ but my experience was the total opposite. The receptionist was friendly and chatted pleasantly with my partner as he told her all my details.

Yes, I had to wait for a couple of hours but it’s common sense that children and those with head injuries who arrived after me should receive priority as my condition, although somewhat gruesome, was stable. Once I was seen by the nurses, they immediately assessed that I would need an X-ray and a doctor, and were efficient, friendly and most importantly kind to both me and my partner. The radiographer was pleasant and caring as were the porters who wheeled me there and back. After the doctors had determined that I’d require a trip to theatre and an overnight stay, this was organised with no fuss although I could hear that the nurses had to make several phone calls to arrange this due to problems with different departments being worried about the deadlines and time scales imposed on them from management above.

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Robin Hood in reverse…

THIS week sees the biggest attack on the incomes of ordinary people in a generation.

Like Robin Hood in reverse, the Tory Lib-Dem Coalition has robbed the poor and given a tax cut to the rich. ​

A Trident missile in action: The Green party says it would scrap the missile programme to save £100billion and reduce the need for benefit cuts.
A Trident missile in action: The Green Party says it would scrap the missile programme to save £100billion and reduce the need for benefit cuts.

Experts have calculated that cuts to disability benefits, housing benefit and council tax benefit will hit the poorest with a staggering 38 per cent reduction in their income.

In Tamworth, from this month, everyone of working age who doesn’t receive severe disability benefits will have to pay at least 25 per cent council tax. That’s an extra £4.57 a week for a Band A property.

Tory Tamworth council is one of the biggest cutters of council tax support in the country – most are charging less than ten per cent.

And before readers run away with the idea that people on benefit are living in luxury, I’d like to ask how many could afford cuts like this from the £71 a week, which a jobseeker gets for food, travel, utilities, clothing, toiletries, and other household expenses?

If you are hit by the bedroom tax, you will lose £10-£15 a week from your housing benefit as well.

No wonder these changes will push a further 200,000 children into poverty in the UK – a disgrace in the seventh richest country in the world.

Our own MP’s website peddles the myths Tories use to gain support for their attacks on the poor. Mr Pincher talks about how ‘it pays not to work’.

He and his ilk pretend our country is drowning under the weight of people who have never worked but play the system.

Yet the truth is that in 2012, only two per cent of working age adults had never worked: over half of them were young unemployed people who’d never been given the chance of a job.

As Mr Pincher knows, over half of the ‘bloated’ welfare bill goes in pensions – Jobseekers Allowance makes up only three per cent.

The Tories bleat about the escalating cost of housing benefit and claim this is why they need to impose the bedroom tax.

Over half of housing benefit goes to poor pensioners and people who are in work but earning poverty wages. The real scandal is the failure of this and previous governments to build social housing resulting in a grossly inflated property market.

As Channel 4 News recently showed, the bedroom tax will cost more, as people are forced to move into costly private rented accommodation. And who are these people? Disabled adults who need a room so their partner/carer can get some sleep or to store vital equipment. Separated parents who need a bedroom so their kids can come and stay.

People who can’t ‘down-size’ because smaller properties don’t exist.

I’m proud that my parents were part of the 1945 generation that built the welfare state when this country was on its knees economically.

We then had a government that knew we really were ‘all in it together’. This phrase is now a hollow lie. The Tories’ real agenda is the destruction of our welfare state because their government of millionaires don’t need it and don’t want to pay for it.

There is an alternative. The Green Party would scrap Trident missiles, saving over £100 billion. We would get people back to work in the green economy, cutting fuel bills and reducing carbon emissions as well as creating jobs. Increased employment boosts tax revenues and reduces welfare spending and is the only way to get out of the economic mess.

Ordinary people didn’t create the global banking crisis and ordinary people shouldn’t be punished for it while the richest get richer. We need a real alternative – a future that works for people and the planet.

Simon Johnson, Chair, Tamworth and District Green Party.
Read more: http://www.thisistamworth.co.uk/Poorest-hit-hardest/story-18620516-detail/story.html#ixzz2Q5apucRh

HS2 – it still doesn’t add up!

STOP HS2 logo

HS2, the high-speed rail-line set to plough its way through parts of Tamworth, is a major concern of ours and one of our three campaigning priorities in the forthcoming County elections.

The Green Party is the only national party which wholly opposes this unnecessary and expensive folly.

We will be petitioning on this issue in Tamworth Town Centre this Saturday (6th April) from 9.30am. Come along and have a chat – you will see us near ‘Middle Entry’

The letter below is from Eddie Jones, Green Party candidate for Perrycrofts and was recently published in the Tamworth Herald.

HS2 – it doesn’t add up

“I FIND it hard to believe that the government and main opposition party are still trying to justify spending billions of pounds on high speed rail.

When I attended the HS2 roadshow at the Guild Hall in Lichfield, a representative from HS2 explained that it was necessary for the following reason:

The number of people using the rail network had increased steadily over the last 20 years as people had become more affluent.

On the assumption that this trend would continue over the next 20 years, the current rail network would not be able to cope and would require major improvements.

If we are doing major improvements, we may as well build a new high speed line.

We are now being told by government that due to the banking industry crisis and austerity measures that we should not expect to become wealthier in the foreseeable future.

That being the case, why is HS2 going ahead?

In any case, I still do not understand how reducing travel time from London to Birmingham by a few minutes is vital to the future of the British economy or justifies spending billions of pounds.”

Eddie Jones, Tamworth and District Green Party.


Standing up for local people

by Simon Johnson, Chair, Tamworth Green Party

The Herald’s forthright defence of the people of our town, against the ‘slob’ labels pinned on us by the national press, is to be welcomed. However, we must not be so defensive that we become complacent and fail to recognise the problems that do exist.

Tamworth Borough Council does need to do more to encourage healthy lifestyles and healthy eating with increased long-term investment, alongside other partners, in sporting and active recreation facilities – accessible to all, at rates we can all afford, building on some of our excellent local voluntary groups such as Tamworth Boxing Club. The planning system should also be used creatively to block junk-food establishments opening up in the town, in favour of healthier choices.

However, evidence shows that the key problem affecting diet and health is poverty. Unemployment, under-employment and the increased growth of low-paid, temporary and casual employment (responsible for much of the government’s mythical increase in employment) and a resultant lack of aspiration are all linked to poor health outcomes. These are things which do not just affect Tamworth but many other similar towns across the country. Sadly, but predictably, the policies of the current government – squeezing the poor to pay for the excesses of the rich – only make matters worse.

However, there are things the council should do to help hard-pressed people in Tamworth. Our council could follow the lead of Green Party controlled Brighton and Hove council, which recently passed a motion against pursuing evictions against tenants in arrears because of welfare change such as the government’s controversial and iniquitous ‘bedroom tax’ . Alternatively the council should follow the example of some Housing Associations in reclassifying bedrooms as other types of room. This protects tenants who are not in a position to pay more, and in doing so, also supports the local economy as people on low incomes spend a higher proportion of their incomes on local goods and services.

We need a council that acts creatively in the interests of local people, rather than blindly implementing disastrous government policy.

HS2 – a key local issue

We were very pleased to see that Lisa had her letter about HS2 published not only in the Tamworth Herald but also the Lichfield Mercury!


AS £32 billion of public money is set to be thrown at the controversial HS2 railway line, Tamworth Green Party restates its opposition to the plans.

There are many reasons why these proposals should be thrown out.

First, the economic case is not convincing. HS2 is likely to be too expensive for most people, even though all our taxes will pay for it.

In the Netherlands a similar high-speed line, opened only two years ago, loses over £320,000 a day, with passengers unable to afford its premium fares and trains often running almost empty.

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Flood defence

floodFlooding in Tamworth appears to have become as inevitable as death and taxes but, whilst we welcome the investment made in flood defences, surely it is time far more was done to tackle the root causes at a local, national and global level?

The government’s own advisors recognise that houses continue to be built on flood plains whilst land disappears under concrete and tarmac- reducing the ability to absorb excess water.

It is acknowledged that we are already close to the limit of our ability to cope with flooding and further climate change could push us over the edge.

The UK is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events – severe winter followed by dry spring and then washout summer. But the government’s response that we need to ‘adapt’ and ‘build resilience’ is simply a sticking plaster to divert attention from the need to treat a serious wound!

We do need to put in place coping strategies but we also have to act now to prevent the ‘worse case scenarios’ from happening in the first place.

This will require action on an almost unprecedented scale; to radically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by investing massively in renewable energy; to improve public transport as a real alternative to the car and to make energy efficiency and reduction the number one national priority.