13 Dec 2010

Cuts Watch #3: Merseyside police to slash head count

The police force on Merseyside is set to lose 800 officers over the next four years. 1,000 civilian staff are also expected to be let go.

More details here.

10 Dec 2010

Greens offer free membership to students and young people

In an unprecedented move, the Green Party today offered free membership to people under 30 or in full-time education.

Any student or young person who applies to join the Green Party before 1 January 2011 will pay no subscription for the coming year.

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP said today:

“I want students and young people to know there is a political party that still cares about their future, and that will keep fighting for a fairer future and will not give up on doing the right thing.

“We have to keep fighting, because we can’t leave the future of our country and our planet to people who want to run things primarily in the interests of big business and the wealthiest people.

“Politics is important and it’s time to reclaim it. I want to extend the warmest possible welcome to all new members, but not least to students and young people who are having such a difficult time at the hands of the other political parties.”

Greens want “a society which values mobility and inclusiveness”

Caroline, who was elected as Britain’s first Green MP in this year’s general election – and who has stood strongly by the Green Party’s policy of universal free education – said last night after the tuition fees vote:

“This is a dark day for the future of higher education in this country. The huge hikes in tuition fees, together with the scrapping of Educational Maintenance Allowance and proposed cuts in college funding, amount to nothing less than a Government assault on our young people – and an attack on the principles of universal education. Many people may be priced out of going to university as a result of today’s vote – and those who do go are likely to be saddled with massive debt. This is unacceptable for a society which values social mobility and inclusiveness.”

Further information

1. Students and young people can join the Green Party free here.

2. Students can normally join the Green Party for £5, as opposed to the standard membership rate of £31. Many people, however, pay higher membership fees to help the party fund its campaigns. Donations are always welcome, as the Green Party receives no financial backing from unions or big businesses as Labour and the Conservatives do, but gets the bulk of its income from members and ordinary supporters.

3. For any enquiries regarding individual membership call 020 7272 4474. For media enquiries only, call 020 7561 0282.

Cuts Watch #2: £48m slashed from Council spending

The assault on public services in Wirral was confirmed last night. Cuts totalling £48m including over £10m slashed from adult social services.

The Daily Post covers the story here.

8 Dec 2010

Cuts Watch #1: Council jobs cull begins

The culling of jobs at Wirral Council has begun. Almost 500 jobs are to go by the end of this month with more to follow in 2011.

The Daily Post has the full story.

1 Dec 2010

Green View Monthly Update

Welcome to the latest monthly update. This month the focus is on housing renewal, fuel poverty and, of course, the usual round-up of street issues.

Housing regeneration faces increased turmoil

It seems no aspect of our lives is immune from the savage cuts agenda. Recently the government announced that it would no longer fund the Pathfinder housing renewal programme. The shocking implications of this were exposed in a Channel 4 report.

The Green Party in Wirral has been very critical of certain aspects of housing renewal. In particular, many homes which should have been refurbished were needlessly demolished with all too predictable consequences as anyone who takes a walk around Tranmere can see.

However, to cut funding off at the knees is clearly senseless at a time when unemployment is rising. This has plunged housing renewal into chaos and the panic it has generated is clear for all to see in this report from the Wirral Globe.

Housing is just one example but anger generally is rising rapidly against the cuts. To find out more about what is happening locally you are invited to a Green Party meeting at the Stork Hotel on Price Street on December 8. Clara Paillard who is branch secretary of the PCS union will be speaking on the rising tide of opposition to government cuts. The meeting starts at 7.30pm.

Also, as the only party with a coherent and comprehensive anti-cuts message, the Green Party is supporting the Merseyside march against the cuts in Liverpool on December 11. Full details here.

Shocking rise in fuel poverty

Instead of slashing funding for vital public works like social housing, the government could instead look to the extortionate profits being earned by UK energy companies. Even though fuel poverty has doubled over the past five years energy prices are soaring again this winter. It is simply unacceptable that energy companies making billions in profits are allowed to add to fuel poverty at a time of austerity.

For a long time, the Green Party has been pushing for a massive roll out in home insulation. The failure to do this has led to increased distress for many on low incomes. Thankfully, Wirral Council is now following our advice and extending its free insulation scheme.

With energy prices soaring it is essential that householders take advantage of any grants available, especially given the current government’s aggressive cuts programme. To find out if you qualify for free insulation under Wirral’s “Cosy Homes” scheme, call 0800 512 012.

Streets update

Below you will find the usual round-up of actions taken by the Green Party team over the past month. As usual, if there are any issues affecting your area please get in touch:

  • Recently, I did a check on numerous broken street lights that were reported over recent months. I was pleased to see that repairs have been carried out to lights on Maybank Road, Craven Street, Paterson Street and in Victoria Park. I was less pleased that several lights on Bentinck Street are still out so I have sent a reminder to Streetscene. I have also reported broken lights on Birchwood Avenue and Cleveland Street.
  • During a recent residents survey we were alerted to persistent fly-tipping by a specific household in the Chester Street area. I immediately wrote to Wirral Methodist Housing who own the relevant property. I received a very positive response and have been impressed by their proactive approach. I am therefore hopeful of a positive outcome.
  • Other issues reported this month include graffiti on Hollybank Road and fly-tipping on Florence Street (opposite Europa Pools).

Latest Green View now available

And finally, our latest ward newsletter will be delivered across Birkenhead and Tranmere this month. You can read the on-line version here.

If you would like to help by delivering 100 copies where you live, please get in touch.