A Flavour of the Times

The Green Party passed the following Emergency Motions at Sheffield Conference, Sept 2011. (These are in addition to agenda motions).

Legal Aid and Justice for All

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill is at the Committee Stages of the Commons. If passed, it will remove access to advice for 650,000 people a year in employment law, welfare benefits, housing, debt, immigration, etc. In light of this, Conference calls on the Green Party Campaigns Committee to support the “Justice for All” campaign which campaigns for everyone, no matter what their financial means to be treated fairly under the law and for free legal advice.

Robin Hood Tax

Conference welcomes the endorsement of a Robin Hood Tax by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy and calls on the UK Government to follow the lead of France and Germany in regulating speculation on international financial markets and generating the revenue needed to fund public investment. Conference calls on Green Party Parliamentarians to raise this with the UK Government in advance of the G20 meeting in November at Cannes.

Anti – ATOS Motion

Conference expresses deep concern at the use of ATOS to assess incapacity benefit receivers for their ability to return to work. As evidence continues to mount that the work capability assessments are being used politically to remove Employment and Support Allowance payments, with 12 doctors referred to the General Medical Council in August, Conference calls on the party leadership to demand that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions removes ATOS as its assessor of benefit claimants.

Nuclear Waste Disposal

We call on policy committee to develop a policy on legacy high and intermediate level radioactive waste in time for Spring Conference 2012. The policy to be based on best environmental practice, not political expediency. We also call on Conference to support Allerdale and Copeland Green Party and other local groups, including West Cumbria Friends of the Earth, Radiation Free Lakeland, and CORE in their work to oppose the deep geological disposal plans and to call for alternative disposal methods to be revisited. In particular lobbying local authorities not to proceed to the next stage of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) process (January 2012), at which stage the right of withdrawal would be severely compromised.

The NHS Listening Exercise

The Green Party reaffirms its commitment to a fully publicly funded NHS and its opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill, deplores the fact that the Conservative / Liberal Democrat government ‘listening exercise’ has (unsurprisingly) proved to be a sham, and demands that the Government abandon forthwith in its entirety this Bill which, if passed, will lead to the marketisation and privatisation of the NHS, having no lesser ultimate consequence than the complete destruction of our National Health Service. Conference calls on GPEx to make active campaigning against this Bill a priority.

The National Planning Policy Framework

Conference condemns the Coaltion Government’s proposed National Planning Policy Framework. The Green Party believes a function of the planning system is to protect people and the environment not to generate unsustainable economic growth. The abolition of targets for building on brownfield land, the lack of any understanding of sustainability coupled with a presumption in favour of development will make it a developers’ charter. Conference calls on elected Greens at all  levels of government to campaign vigorously against the NPPF and for the Green Party as a whole to campaign against these proposals to ensure we protect our communities, countryside and quality of life from unrestrained development.

Bombardier – Rail jobs

The Green Party condemns the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government decision to give the order for new rolling stock for Thameslink to Siemens. This failed to take into account the effect on the UK economy and jobs.

Derby-based Bombardier, the last remaining train builder in this country has announced the loss of 1400 jobs as a result of not winning the bid. The Bombardier factory in Derby is now under threat and so are thousands more jobs in the Derby area in other rail businesses that supply the factory.

We need more train carriages for our railways, both to replace those that are life-expired and to increase the size of the fleet in order to reduce overcrowding and carry more passengers.

Conference instructs GPEX to write to the Sec of State for Transport requesting him to reconsider the allocation of the Thameslink trains contract to Siemens and to ensure that British jobs in the industry are protected.

Emergency Motion on the English Riots [amended]

Conference is appalled at the outbreak of violence, looting, arson and murder that took place in English cities in August. The riots were a manifestation of anger that has deep roots and obvious triggers. The roots include inequality, loss of social cohesion, cuts in local public services, unemployment, increasing poverty, resentment against the police, consumerism and gang culture. The triggers were the death of Mark Duggan and the exceptionally inept handling of its aftermath.

To address these problems we advocate immediate action to reverse the cuts in public services, increase support for disadvantaged communities and provide a 100% earnings disregard for work of local benefit. In punishing rioters there should be more use of restorative justice and community payback orders. There must also be an independent inquiry into the death of Mark Duggan and its aftermath.

These measures, however, will not deal with the roots of the problem. We call for a public inquiry into the deeper causes of social breakdown which lie as much in the excesses of the powerful as in the conditions of the powerless. This inquiry should seek to create a consensus for remedial actions which need to be as radical as those that created the welfare state 60 years ago.

Conference calls upon our elected representatives to put forward these measures at every relevant opportunity.

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