2018

2018

Record of Policy Statements (RoPS)

Animal welfare in public procurement

The Green Party believe that policy making around animals should be designed to protect them against cruelty. We don’t think it’s right to exploit the other species we share this planet with and are prepared to take on the vested interests that fuel animal cruelty.

We would support the initiative to ensure legislation on public procurement of explicit requirements to purchase higher-welfare animal products. We also separately encourage vegetarian and vegan menu options in all public sector establishments in order to reduce demand for animal products.

Agreed by GPRC September 2018

Support for Solar

The below is a letter to the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth to which Caroline Lucas wanted to put her name as co-leader of the party, rather than as an MP.  Therefore it is considered a policy statement of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Dear Minister

Following the Government’s proposal to close the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) for all new solar installations we ask you to confirm at the earliest opportunity that the fair payment for surplus electricity exported to the grid will continue to be available to new solar homes, small businesses & community energy projects in its current form.

This certainty is needed as a matter of urgency to safeguard the confidence of everyday investors in solar and related ‘smart’ technologies, and of the UK solar industry. The Environmental Audit Committee has recently warned about the ‘alarming collapse’ in clean energy investment since 2016 & the lack of new enabling policies. Removing the fair export for solar power risks compounding this, with further loss of skills & cost efficiencies in the rooftop solar industry.

Naturally we welcome your Department’s commitment to a smart energy system and we share your vision of developing competitive markets into which smart homes, businesses, farmers & communities will be able to offer their services. However, whilst the technology is ready, very complex regulatory issues (for example in relation to export metering & new market creation) must first be resolved before there is a viable route-to-market for domestic households and a fair reward for their offer. Substantial work is underway across the industry to overcome the many issues, but the timetables involved mean that there will be a gap, most likely of several years, before their resolution. Meanwhile your FIT consultation proposes removal of the export tariff in just eight months time.

If the export tariff is removed next April, householders & SMEs investing in solar & smart technologies will encounter very nascent markets that currently lack regulatory foundations. They would therefore potentially have to spill their power onto the grid for free, effectively subsidising the commercial electricity sector. Domestic households, communities, farmers & small businesses with solar would be the only generators not paid for their exported power. We hope you agree that this wouldn’t be acceptable. Such negative treatment will stifle the market, put off early adopters and give the wrong signals about grid interaction to consumers, thus slowing down UK progress towards a smart and flexible energy system.

Instead, we urge you to ensure pioneering citizens have a positive experience of interaction with the grid so that public trust in a smart energy pathway can be firmly fostered. We would therefore also welcome;

  • an interim incentive from next April for metered settlement from smart homes & SMEs with the ability to offer flexibility services, in anticipation of new flexibility markets and modernised regulation to come. This should ensure local capacity is developed for wider system evolution towards a smarter grid while industry works to resolve the barriers, some of which are costly.
  • removal of current policy barriers that could discourage over 800,000 existing solar homes from installing battery storage & smart meters.
    The rights of ‘prosumers’ will shortly be enshrined in new European law, requiring Member States to ensure that self-generators are fairly remunerated for their surplus power. This provides a baseline of fair treatment for consumers so they can invest with confidence and around which market innovation can blossom. If that were to happen across the rest of Europe, but not here, then Britain risks quickly losing its position as market leader in smart power, along with all the associated economic benefits and export opportunities.
    We urge you to safeguard the rights of UK prosumers and to confirm the secure continuation of the export tariff as soon as possible. We also urge you to positively support the growth of smart homes, businesses & communities across the UK.

Agreed by GPRC September 2018

Letter to Penny Mordaunt re Women’s Suffrage Centenary Action Group

The below is a letter to the Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mordaunt, from the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Action Group. The Green Party’s Regional Council endorsed this letter, and therefore this is considered a policy statement of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Dear Minister,

Re: Building a lasting legacy to the UK Women’s Suffrage Centenary for women’s rights across the world

Congratulations from the Centenary Action Group on your appointment to Minister for Women and Equalities. This role alongside your responsibility as Secretary of State for International Development represents a unique opportunity to progress the rights of women and girls in the UK and worldwide.

As one of the UK’s largest coalitions of women’s rights activists and organisations, the Centenary Action Group represents both sides of your portfolio and a global feminist voice. We are a new cross-party campaigning coalition convened by Helen Pankhurst to build a lasting legacy for the 2018 centenary of the first women’s votes in the UK. We have over 100 members and represent activists, cross party politicians (from both Houses) and women’s rights organisations from across the political spectrum, with a combined Twitter following of over (to add) and an extensive reach through our memberships of over (to add).

We are writing to ask you to meet with representatives of the group and discuss our shared priorities which you have a record in supporting, including: greater women’s political participation and leadership, especially in local and national politics; an end to the violence, harassment and abuse of women, and targeted efforts to address economic inequalities that prevent women engaging in politics and decision-making.

Together, we have already achieved so much. On 6 February at 8pm, the exact moment the first women gained the right to vote 100 years ago, we reached over 9 million people to ask why they are #StillMarching in 2018. #StillMarching was used by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. In March, we demonstrated our collective force at March4Women, calling for global gender equality and an end to harassment and violence at work. In June, we again took to the streets and galvanised women and women’s organisations from across the four nations to take part in Processions, celebrating how far we have come, whilst acknowledging how far we still have to go. And we do have far to go.

As you know, in this centenary year of the first women gaining the vote, only 32% of MPs and 33% of local councillors in the UK are women. Globally, fewer than 23% of parliamentarians are women. We can and we must do better. That is why in July, we launched our campaign to support and encourage the Government to enact Section 106 of the Equality Act 2010, gaining cross-party support from MPs and significant media coverage.

This year’s suffrage centenary celebrations must not be a flash in the pan, but the start of a decade of action until the anniversary of full suffrage in 2028. We are keen to work with you to achieve this. In March you said, “without women’s rights, there are no human rights”. We could not agree more, and we would like to invite you to meet with Centenary Action Group members to discuss how we can build on our successes so far and work together to ensure that women everywhere have the right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

We look forward to working with you and liaising with your office to arrange a suitable date.

Yours sincerely

Agreed by GPRC July 2018

Climate Change Damages Declaration

The Green Party supports the Climate Change Damages Declaration calling for:

  • The establishment of an initiative for loss and damage finance with a two year work plan identifying sources of revenue adequate to the scale of the problem in a predictable and fair way;
  • the introduction of an equitable fossil fuel extraction charge – or Climate Damages Tax – levied on producers of oil, gas and coal to pay for the damage and costs caused by climate change when these products are burnt, implemented nationally, regionally or internationally
  • the use of the substantial revenues raised to be allocated through the appropriate UN body, such as the Green Climate Fund or similar financial mechanism, for the alleviation and avoidance of the suffering caused by severe impacts of climate change in developing countries, including those communities forced from their homes
  • the urgent replacement of fossil fuels, by mid-century at the latest, with renewable sources of energy assisted by increasing the rate of the Climate Damages Tax over time.

Agreed by GPRC July 2018

Good Systems Agreement between members of the Make VOtes Matter Alliance

The Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) is a member of the Make Votes Matter Alliance, working with other parties, organisations and individuals to bring in a system of Proportional Representation for the House of Commons. By coming to cross-party consensus about what good voting systems look like, the Alliance will be in a stronger position to work together to achieve this goal.

The Make Votes Matter Alliance has pooled collective knowledge and carried out extensive research to agree the following principles which are required of ‘good’ voting systems. We have drawn on the work of official expert panels and consultations from around the world, a wide range of academic literature and a wealth of knowledge from other expert sources.

The overriding objective is to ensure that the seats won in Parliament are in proportion to the votes cast.

This agreement is not intended to alter allies’ existing system preferences, but to seek broad consensus about the key principles that any voting system considered for UK general elections must meet.

As such, GPEW confirms its support for voting systems that meet the following principles:

Principles of good voting systems for general elections:

  • Proportionality: good systems ensure that seats closely match votes, with parliamentary representation at least as proportional as the Scottish Parliament.
  • Representation: good systems ensure MPs and governments represent the views of the voters.
  • Equal votes: good systems ensure the value of individual votes is not distorted by factors such as geography, and minimise the need for tactical voting.
  • Local links: good systems maintain links between MPs and specific geographic areas.
  • Diversity:good systems encourage the election of parliaments reflecting the population.
  • Voter choice: good systems allow voters a wide choice of parties, and allow voters to express preferences for people rather than just parties. Any lists used must be democratically determined.
  • Accountability: good systems ensure MPs and governments are accountable to the voters.
  • Balance of stability and flexibility: good systems engender stable, flexible government that has the ability to compromise.
  • Sustainability and adaptability: good systems are able to respond and adapt to changing needs without requiring frequent or fundamental change.
  • Voting simplicity: good systems and ballot papers are easy for voters to understand and use.

Approved by GPRC June 2018

Green Jobs Alliance Statement

Greener Jobs Alliance Joint Statement on Just Transition in the UK

Early supporters of this statement include Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Greener Jobs Alliance, People & Planet, PCS, NUS, National Education Union.

It’s time for a Just Transition in the UK, moving to a modern low carbon economy in such a way as to protect workers’ livelihoods, create new industries and deliver a fairer society in all regions and devolved nations. The need for action to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Change Agreement to keep global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, is urgent if we are to avert the environmental and economic costs of climate change.

We share a concern that the Government’s Industrial and Clean Growth strategies fail to reference the need for a Just Transition. This embodies the principles of consultation between all sections of society; investment in skills and jobs; the creation of decent work; and social protection for individuals and communities, particularly those reliant on fossil fuels. It is necessary to confront the danger facing our industries and power system as employment in traditional sectors declines. Workers, if losing their job in these sectors, should be able to retrain and redeploy to a new job on equivalent terms and conditions, covered by collective agreements, and fully supported in their housing and income needs through transition.

Government must take a decisive lead with plans to transform key sectors, through publicly and community owned energy supply, transport infrastructure, investing in energy efficiency and sustainable heating in our homes and in industry. The speed and scale of Government action must be increased, as advised by the Committee on Climate Change. Where necessary to secure change at sufficient pace and scale, options for public and community ownership or partial stakes in flagship energy projects and enterprises should be pursued.

Employment and social benefits for communities most affected by industrial change should be secured through local investment in new jobs and skills, the creation of local supply chains, and ‘community benefit’ clauses in public contracts and local ownership. The principles of social justice and equity must be adopted to ensure no-one is left behind in the transition to economic and environmental sustainability.

Meanwhile, internationally, the government should support the strengthening of workers’ rights and environmental standards in the global supply chains for low carbon industries, such as solar panel and battery production.

We believe that all key stakeholders should be represented on consultation and implementation bodies linked to the industrial, skills and climate change strategies. This should include proposed industrial and sector bodies at national, regional and local levels

We therefore call on the UK government to:

  1. incorporate Just Transition principles within the UK’s commitments to implement the Paris Agreement, including the UK’s Industrial and Clean Growth strategies.
  2. legislate for the right to appoint workplace environment representatives to help ensure workers’ views are fairly represented at local level. At company and sector level unions need the right to a voice in the economic restructuring decisions that will take place.
  3. establish a Just Transition Commission to develop a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead, along the lines of the welcome initiative of the Scottish Government to establish such a body.

Approved by GPRC June 2018

Press statement for Welsh Referendum

The Green Party is a fierce champion of democracy and self-determination, in the public arena and our own party, and we welcome therefore the decision to consult members who live in Wales on their future party status, just as we support the right of the people of Wales to determine their own future.

Approved by GPRC June 2018

Greens reject Labour affiliation

Conference notes calls by journalists such as Owen Jones for the Green Party to affiliate with the Labour Party.

Conference further notes that:

  • Greens have won many concessions from Labour administrations that could not have happened from within Labour,
  • Local authorities need effective opposition and affiliation would leave many without effective opposition,
  • Elected Greens are often the only viable opposition to Conservative administrations,
  • Labour’s policies and actions on HS2, nuclear weapons and power, airport expansion, homelessness, libraries, estate demolition, the scapegoating of immigrants, tree felling, and more are not compatible with Green values,
  • Labour does not support Proportional Representation, which is a high political priority for the Greens,
  • Greens do not believe large broad coalition parties give voters enough choice nor that they produce effective government and are therefore not conductive to a good democracy,
  • Labour’s internal democracy is woeful and not compatible with our members’ expectations of democratic policy making,
  • The whipping system employed by Labour is not conductive to cooperative policy making and is not compatible with expectations of elected Greens,
  • Labour does not support the Green policy of a ratification referendum on the terms of any Brexit deal,
  • The Cooperative Party has not been able to present its own unique identity whilst affiliated to Labour, and has therefore had less influence over Labour than the Greens, and therefore rejects affiliation to Labour.
  • Conference calls for Labour to implement Proportional Representation for elections to Westminster as the basis for further cooperation between our two, separate and distinct, parties.

Passed Spring 2018

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