23 February 2013
THE LEADER of Britain’s only Green Party-led council has attacked cynical populism by the Coalition, which is creating poverty and victimising people across the UK.
In his speech to the Green Party conference this morning, Councillor Jason Kitcat, the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, also outlined the council’s achievements and plans for the future – and called for local authorities to be more confident and demand local freedoms.
He said: ‘We reject government austerity, which is harming our communities. So much time is being wasted on cuts.
‘The shameful truth is the outrage of a government cutting support for the poorest in our communities.
‘The benefits cap is utterly cynical, and a populist hit on large, poor families, many of whom are in low-paid work. Liam Byrne has confirmed that Labour too would have a benefit cap, and Labour too would be cutting welfare. So we have all three of the bigger parties backing the rich over the poor – that’s unacceptable.’
Cllr. Kitcat leads the Brighton and Hove City Council Green Party group, which is the largest group on the council, but does not hold an outright majority.
The group campaigned against government demands to cut Council Tax, planning to use the cash to promote and improve services for the city, but was opposed by both Conservative and Labour Councillors.
Cllr Kitcat said: ‘We are the only party serious about real localism. We have a vision of welfare being for all, of sustainable local government, of a reversal of NHS privatisation, so that communities like Lewisham don’t see the scandal of their hospitals being closed.
‘We need to speak out to give a hope of a genuine alternative.
‘Councils need to be more self-confident, more bold, and demand local freedoms.’
He also detailed the council’s achievements to date under the Green administration, including installing a city-wide 20mph speed limit, new cycling and walking infrastructure to improve the city’s major routes and difficult junctions, building new affordable housing, and ending second home discounts on council tax.
He also promoted the Brighton and Hove City Plan, written by the Green Party.
He said; ‘The city plan for the next twenty years means we have embedded green-thinking in every planning application for decades to come.’
The Green Party’s Spring Conference is held from 11am on Friday 22nd February until 3:30pm on Monday 25th February at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham.
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