2017

2017

Record of Policy Statements (RoPS)

Oppose Stonehenge Tunnel Plan

This Conference notes that the plan by the government and Highways England to build a new dual carriageway road and 2.9km tunnel within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site has been unanimously condemned by all the leading British archaeologists and by UNESCO, because it would cause serious and irreparable damage to the World Heritage Site. We also note that the historical evidence of other road building schemes shows that they do not solve problems of traffic congestion, but rather shift that congestion from one place to another while encouraging further traffic growth overall, and that any increase in road traffic is directly contrary to the overwhelming imperative of reducing the emissions which are driving climate change. In this context, we need to conserve our future as well as our past.

We therefore strongly urge the government to abandon the present tunnel plan, and to seriously examine all other options to improve transport links in the area whilst avoiding any further damage to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. This examination should not be limited to alternative road routes, but should include more environmentally sustainable options for infrastructure investment such as improving the capacity of the London to Exeter rail line to carry more freight in order to relieve pressure on the A303.

Passed Autumn 2017

Reducing Plastic Waste

Conference notes that the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has calculated that the weight of plastics in the ocean is likely to exceed that of fish by 2050, and that there’s been recent campaigns and some limited action on microbeads, plastic cotton bud sticks, single-use beverage cups and drink bottles and drinking straws, but that far more needs to be done.

It calls on the national executive to campaign to reduce and end the environmental damage done by unnecessary single use plastics, both these products and others, and for our elected representatives to take what action they can to this end.

Passed Autumn 2017

Solidarity with Leeds UCU

Conference supports the Leeds University and Colleges Union (UCU) in their strike action on the 11th-13th October and calls on the Trade Union Liaison Officer on GPEx to send a message of support for their continued fight against changes by management.

Leeds University UCU voted for three days of strike action and to ask the national union to trigger the process of censure, then academic boycott of the University of Leeds. This is crucial in protecting academic freedom and the rights of workers, many of which are party members.
If you can please donate to their strike fund.

Passed Autumn 2017

Tyne & Wear Metro Rolling Stock Replacement

Conference calls on the Prime Minister and her government to:-

  1. Support with a full government grant the urgent replacement of the Tyne & Wear Metro’s present rolling stock.
  2. That no PFI be attached to the funding for the urgent replacement of this rolling stock.
  3. Ensure that the T&W Metro remains in community ownership and not have a privatization forced upon it.
  4. Recognise that local public transport systems, such as the T&W Metro, powered by electricity, are vital to the future development of clean cities, and to prioritise grants for the ongoing refurbishment of both existing and proposed new electrically powered public transport systems.

This conference empowers the North East England Regional Council to inform the Government and local interest groups of the acceptance of this motion.

Passed Autumn 2017

Nobel Peace Prize and nuclear weapons

Conference applauds the decision of the Nobel Peace Prize committee to make its 2017 award to International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons. It notes that 122 states have supported the treaty to ban nuclear weapons, following on the model of bans on biological and chemical weapons.

Conference deplores Britain’s boycotting of the talks for the treaty and calls on the British government to join these talks as a matter of urgency, as the only way to ensure future security from the threat of the use of these hideous weapons of mass destruction.

Further, conference notes that Britain is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but is failing to live up to its obligations under that to work to rid the world of nuclear weapons. With the replacement of Trident now beginning, this is an ideal time for Britain to take the global lead in not replacing its nuclear weapons.

It acknowledges that some communities are heavily economically dependent on jobs from our nuclear weapons programme, and acknowledges that they need assistance to convert to useful, safe industries, so backs the proposal for a Defence Diversification Agency to work on an arms conversion strategy.

Passed Autumn 2017

The UK needs an Environmental Protection Act

Many of the UK’s environmental protections derive from EU legislation and leaving the EU will jeopardise these protections. Earlier this week Theresa May triggered article 50 beginning the process of the UK leaving the EU. Today the government set out plans for a Great Repeal Bill which seeks to enshrine all existing EU legislation into UK law, where appropriate.  These measures are not enough to preserve existing environmental protections or the right to environmental justice. Defra has noted that at least one third of EU environmental legislation will be difficult to transpose into UK law. In the years ahead we must ensure that leaving the European Union does not result in weaker environmental protections for the UK.

Conference instructs the campaigns team and elected representatives (where possible) to campaign for a new Environmental Protection Act which both safeguards and extends our environmental protections and the right to environmental justice.

Passed Spring 2017

Stop HS2

Given CH2M have withdrawn their contract bid and there have been a number of high level resignations in HS2, Conference calls on the campaigns team and (where possible) elected representatives to re-double campaigning and to unite campaigning of affected local parties in particular to halt HS2 and wanton destruction of precious habitat and biodiversity that it poses.

Passed Spring 2017

NHS – Accountable Care

With the publication of “Next Steps of the NHS Five Year Forward View” on 31st March by NHS England, conference:

  1. Condemns government for failing to fund properly the NHS and failing to ensure there are enough staff being trained.
  2. Calls on Campaigns Committee to continue campaigning for proper funding for the NHS rather than continuing with the present plan for 20% cuts.
  3. Calls on government at all levels to properly engage with the public and health professionals to develop plans rather than simply forcing change.

Passed Spring 2017

Great Repeal Bill

Following the Great Repeal Bill announcement of 30 March 2017 GPEW states its belief that as the UK government has chosen its course of wholesale withdrawal from so many EU bodies it is the Government’s responsibility to introduce complete legislation to achieve its aim for due scrutiny and agreement by Parliament. GPEW rejects the Government’s proposals for sweeping new powers of secondary legislation and so-called Henry VIII clauses as fundamentally undemocratic and an attempt to sidestep parliamentary sovereignty. GPEW resolves and asks its leaders and spokespeople to condemn these proposals publicly, to challenge the proposals and to fight against them at every opportunity.

Passed Spring 2017

Defending Democracy

Following the decision of the Electoral Commission on 16 March 2017, which confirmed the rumours about election expense irregularities in the 2015 general election, this conference now urges the Green Party leadership as a matter of some urgency to initiate talks with opposition parties and radical organisations such as the People’s Assembly to defend democracy by organising a national campaign to demand by-elections in all constituencies where, according to the Electoral Commission these irregularities gave material advantages over other candidates.

Passed Spring 2017

Client Earth’s Call for a New Clean Air Act

The Green Party strongly supports Client Earth’s call for a new Clean Air Act which would:

  • tackle sources of diesel;
  • safeguard legal protection which could be lost in the event the UK leaves the EU;
  • improve EU and UK law to enshrine the right to breathe clean air.

Further to Client Earth’s call for smog warnings during high pollution episodes: warnings should emphasise action to curb traffic rather than people’s everyday activities – the right of people to breathe clean air is paramount.

Following text quoted from ClientEarth:

“ClientEarth’s proposals for a Clean Air Act would:

  • Retain the objectives under the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive as a minimum safeguard on human health;
  • Adopt revised objectives based on World Health Organisation guidelines;
  • Guarantee the public the right to access the courts to enforce its provisions, in accordance with the Aarhus Convention. The procedure must be fast, affordable, allow for substantive review of air quality plans and policies and provide effective judicial remedies, including fines.
  • Consolidate the complex and disparate body of domestic, EU and international air pollution laws into one coherent and effective piece of legislation;
  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of national government, local authorities, the Mayor of London and the devolved administrations;
  • Lay down a national framework for effective Clean Air Zones which phase out diesel and accelerate the shift to zero emission transport;
  • Implement the UK’s pollution reduction targets for 2020 and 2030 under the Gothenburg Protocol and the newly agreed EU NEC Directive, in order to tackle trans-boundary air pollution;
  • Ensure coherence with other relevant policies and legislation, particularly the Climate Change Act and planning guidance;
  • Require national, local and city authorities to collect adequate information on air pollution – including data from a minimum number of air quality monitoring stations – and proactively provide the public with that information, including through smog warnings during high pollution episodes; and
  • Require national, local and city authorities to take measures to reduce exposure to air pollution – particularly for vulnerable groups such as children, older people and those suffering from pre-existing health conditions.”

Passed Spring 2017

Citizens’ Income, Benefit Sanctions, Workfare, and the Living Wage

a) The GPEW expresses support for the TUC’s 2016 Welfare Charter which demands an end to the benefit sanctions regime, an end to Work Capacity Assessments, an end to compulsory work for-benefit-programmes (workfare), together with a high legal minimum wage, and ‘a non-means tested, non-discriminatory benefit payable to all, with housing costs met, allied with extensive provision of low-cost housing’.

b) The GPEW applauds the statement in the National Welfare Charter brochure promoted by UNITE Community, London Unemployed Strategies and the Unemployed Combine in 2015 which says; ‘We must explore ways of growing the numbers of people who support the principle of a minimum Citizens Income for all.’

c) The GPEW welcomes the intentions of motion C13 – 68/69 passed at the TUC in 2016, proposed by UNITE and seconded by USDAW, which opposed benefits cuts, sanctions and the system of Universal Credit and stated:-

Congress believes that the TUC should acknowledge Universal Basic Income and argue for a progressive system that would be easier to administer, easier for people to navigate, paid individually and that is complementary to comprehensive public services and childcare provision.

The transition from our current system to any new system that incorporates these principles should always leave people with lower incomes better off.’

d) The GPEW encourages local parties to:-

  1. work with campaigns run by UNITE and other trade unions to challenge benefit sanctions;
  2. promote understanding and appreciation of the idea of Citizen’s Income amongst our membership and the general public by working with trade unions and with campaigns or think tanks that have put forward Citizen’s Income proposals, like the Citizens’ Income Trust, Royal Society of Arts, and Compass, and drawing attention to their web sites and literature.

e) The GPEW’s living wage target, currently £10 per hour by 2020, should be uprated annually by the same percentage as the Living Wage calculated by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF).

f) The GPEW recognises the importance of the Living Wage as a long term policy which should be in place as long as it is necessary to supplement the important role of collective bargaining and to reduce the risk of employers keeping wages low in the knowledge that their employees would depend partly on state funds. We also recognise that a high legal Living Wage could enhance one ecologically important effect of a CI, that is the effect of encouraging a voluntary movement towards shorter working hours; the higher the hourly wage level, the fewer hours people need to work to achieve their desired income level, so that work-sharing through a shorter working week reduces the political pressure to ensure more jobs through resource-using economic growth.

g) The GPEW, however, recognises the urgent need for greater public funding to sustain adequate wage levels in socially important sectors which are under pressure from austerity budgets, such as social care work, cleaning in public sector buildings and various community services provided by the voluntary sector.

Passed Spring 2017

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