Green Party mailing
QUEEN’S SPEECH AND THE NEED FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL
One of the debates on the Queen's Speech was titled the Green Industrial
Revolution. It was encouraging to hear MPs on all sides calling for the
climate emergency to be addressed with the urgency it demands. But that
can't hide the fact that the Government is exaggerating the UK's own
performance on emissions reductions and claiming leadership without
delivering it - which I pointed out to the minister during the debate, as
you can see here .
In my own speech, I focused on the truth about the UK's climate
performance, and the fact that the target date of 2050 is far too late to
address the scale of the crisis and we need to decarbonise much faster in
line with what the science demands and equity requires. We can do this
through a Green New Deal, which would address both the climate emergency
and the deep inequalities in our country.
Failing to address the climate crisis with the urgency it needs is the
greatest issue of international and inter-generational injustice. The UK
bears a particular responsibility as the birthplace of the industrial
revolution and - this year - the host of the UN climate talks.
You can hear part of my speech here .
I also spoke at an event at the Royal Society organised by the New
Economics Foundation about the Green New Deal, a just transition to a zero
carbon economy and how we can respond to the next recession or economic
down-turn in a way that accelerates this transition rather than hinders it.
I began working on the Green New Deal in 2007, before the financial crisis.
The coalition government missed a huge opportunity to respond to the crisis
by investing in a socially-just way to tackle the climate emergency. We
must not let the same thing happen again.
The Government is making a lot of claims about its green credentials but
hasn't hesitated to bail out the regional airline Flybe - completely
ignoring the fact that aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse
gas emissions. Reducing or cutting altogether the passenger duty on
domestic flights, as the Government is reported to be considering, is not
only irresponsible, it's completely inconsistent with tackling the climate
emergency. I spoke about this on both ITV News and Radio 4's PM programme.
As the day of our departure from the EU approaches, I am having meetings
and correspondence with local businesses and constituents, among them EU
citizens, who are rightly worried about the impact of Brexit. I asked
ministers what was being done to help those who are vulnerable to apply for
settled status and was told that £9 million is being set aside to help
vulnerable or at-risk EU citizens and their families. Given that as many as
one million have yet to apply for settled status, it's clear that the
Government has not done enough to facilitate this process.
I also asked about our future relationship with the European Environment
Agency which has done so much to help drive up environmental protections in
this country. I received no reassurances and will keep questioning
ministers on this.
FIRE SAFETY IN HIGH-RISE BLOCKS
The terrible fire at Pankhurst Avenue last year, and the tragedy of
Grenfell, highlighted ongoing fire risks. There is also concern among
people living in council-owned high-rise housing blocks which I have raised
in the past with both Brighton and Hove City Council and the housing
minister. I've urged the Government to fund the retrofitting of sprinklers
in all social housing and council developments so residents could feel safe
in their homes. Last week, I met with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
to discuss these fire safety issues and broader concerns about building
AIRBNB AND SHORT-TERM LETS
Airbnb and other short-term letting agencies are having a huge impact on
the availability of private rented accommodation in Brighton and Hove. It's
estimated that as many as 2,000 homes, many in the city centre are used for
short-term holiday lets. The Scottish government is giving local
authorities the power to regulate short-term lets in the interests of their
communities, and I asked the Government what help would be given to
councils in England. The answer was that short term lets without planning
permission may constitute an offence. But ministers should know that it is
expensive and very time-consuming for councils to gather sufficient
evidence to prove this, and they need to be given actual powers to regulate
Many of you who, like me, regularly travel by train to London will have
heard of the Croydon Bottleneck. It causes delays to trains every time
there's an incident, and it also limits the number of trains which can run
on the line so causes overcrowding. It should clearly be a priority in any
upgrade of the rail network so I asked ministers to fund the project to
unblock the bottleneck. I was told the next decision would be made in May,
but any extra funding would depend on the business case and local support.
I will continue to push for this scheme to be made a priority.
NIGHT TIME ECONOMY
The night time economy (pubs, clubs and music venues) is vital to the
overall economy of Brighton, yet many of these loved venues are under
threat. I met representatives from the Music Venues Alliance to hear how
business owners and other stakeholders viewed the situation, as well as the
need for robust Agent of Change legislation to ensure any new developments
planned for sites next to music venues would need to mitigate that risk
themselves, rather than demanding restrictions to or closure of the venues.
Many of them are also asking for more government support for grassroots
music venues and similar protection to that given to theatres.
SIXTH FORM FUNDING
Education for 16-19 year olds took a bigger hit from the Conservatives'
austerity programme than any other education sector. Sixth-form colleges
have told me they need at least £4,760 a year per student to deliver the
quality education the students deserve. The long overdue rise announced
last September took funding only to £4,188. I raised this with ministers
but was given no assurances on future funding - only that it would be
considered in future spending reviews. Our sixth form colleges deserve
better than this.
NATURAL HISTORY GCSE
I was delighted to see the exam board OCR confirm that it is developing a
new GCSE in natural history, something that I have been championing for
years working with some inspirational people who are passionate about the
natural world and alarmed by the crisis it's facing. I hope that this GCSE,
once it's approved and being taught, will help more young people re-connect
with nature so they learn to understand it, love it and protect it.
It has been a real delight over the past few months, and a welcome relief
from politics, to curate an exhibition at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne.
The exhibition, which runs until May 10, is called Brink - a name inspired
by one of the exhibits - because it reflects my belief that we are on the
brink of a different world with the loss of so much nature and wildlife.
The official reception for the exhibition was last Friday. I hope some of
you will be able to go along and see it.
If you are a local resident and need help with case work or to find out more about my activities locally please do contact me at the office of: Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Media Centre 15-17 Middle Street, Brighton BN1 1AL.
Tel: 01273 201 130. Email: [email protected]
I hold regular surgeries across the constituency. If you would like to book an appointment at a forthcoming surgery please call Liz Collis on 01273 201130.
She coordinates my constituency office and is able to help with most local enquiries.
If you would like to know about my parliamentary work please get in touch at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA.
Tel: 020 7219 7025. Email: [email protected]
You can also keep up to date with my news on:
My Website: www.carolinelucas.com
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