Spring 2022

Spring 2022

Record of Policy Statements (RoPS)

Addressing this Government’s failure to support young refugees

The Green Party of England and Wales believe that it is vital unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) get support immediately when they arrive on our shores (RA 603).

Yet many child refugees are being held in hotels and intake centres across the south coast, waiting for a council to accept them into care through the national transfer scheme.

We applaud the small number of councils who, despite mass cuts to their budgets and the lack of available placements for children in care, do everything in their power to welcome child refugees into their area – and are exceeding the target set by Government. This includes Green-led Brighton and Hove and Solihull, where Greens are a powerful opposition.

But many local councils, often where Conservatives are in power, are failing to provide a warm, safe home for child refugees. We welcomed moves from the Government to use their powers to make it mandatory that councils take UASC in November. However, we are dismayed that this action was only temporary.

We therefore call on the Government to:

  • make the mandatory rota through the national transfer scheme permanent, with no exceptions allowing councils to opt out
  • ensure that the national transfer scheme takes account of UASC best interests and wishes, and that the prescribed 0.07% quota should be a minimum not a maximum for councils supporting UASC in their area 
  • fund councils adequately to enable them to provide support to UASC in care and care leavers 
  • introduce schemes which reunite unaccompanied child refugees with their families 
  • address the lack of placements for all children in care, by funding councils to develop in house provision and end the practice of profit-making private residential homes and foster agencies 
  • over the long term, work with other governments to address the underlying causes of unaccompanied child refugees arriving on our shores

Eliminating Fossil Fuel assets from the finance sector

Banking regulation

The FCA will adjust its policy so that no UK domiciled bank should invest in, or facilitate finance for, new fossil fuel development (including extraction, processing and distribution) or the new construction of unmitigated fossil-fuel powered electricity generation – whether in the UK or overseas – by the end of 2022. Sanctions to enforce this policy will include suspension of bonuses and dividend payouts, loss of access to central bank funding and ultimately the suspension of banking licences.

Any company holding a UK banking licence must present an investment strategy outlining a clear pathway to divest of its current fossil fuel assets as soon as possible, or at least by 2030, From 2030 it will become illegal to hold fossil fuel assets other than those deemed of strategic importance.

The role the Bank of England

The Bank of England will be required to mainstream the climate crisis into their strategic thinking and to produce a climate-neutrality roadmap for the financial system, including forward planning scenarios consistent with a 1.5oC warming limit and equity obligations of the Glasgow Accord.

The Bank of England should adopt a policy of credit guidance with minimum but rapidly increasing quotas of lending to fund a just but urgent sustainability transition (to sustainable energy sources). There will be credit bans/ceilings for unsustainable activities. These targets will be mandatory for all banks relying on the central bank as a lender of last resort.

The Bank of England’s mandate will be changed so that funding the sustainability transition becomes a central objective, alongside the maintenance of price stability.

The UK will adopt a position in negotiations at the Basel Committee that fossil fuel assets will be subjected to higher risk weights and capital surcharges until their value as collateral assets reaches zero by 2030.

The Bank of England will be mandated to use its monetary creation powers and its asset purchase programme to finance projects to achieve our net zero targets, and to invest in jobs in green sectors via capitalization of a decentralized system of Infrastructure Banks and use the Term Funding Scheme to incentivize lending to green SMEs.

Strengthening green bonds and preventing greenwashing

A strong and effective market for green bonds requires mandatory standards backed up by domestic and global monitoring and enforcement measures.

Greenwashing – such as the inclusion of gas or ‘blue hydrogen’ in bonds designated as ‘green’ – will undermine confidence in the market and allow fossil fuel companies to subvert the transition to net zero.

The UK will lead an international negotiation to agree mandatory global standards for climate bonds.

Based on the EU’s mandatory reporting framework, SFDR, UK market authorities will enforce clear standards for green bonds based on verifiable measurement and scientifically verifiable Paris compliance.

A clear transition for the stock markets and the pensions and insurance sector

Non-bank financial institutions, such as UK pension funds, investment funds, mutual funds, brokers and insurance companies that sell policies in the UK must remove fossil fuel assets from their investment portfolios, securities transactions and balance sheets by 2030.

The fiduciary duty of pensions companies will ensure their investments are consistent with global targets set down in the Glasgow Accord.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will develop targets to eliminate all equities relating to fossil fuel exploitation from the UK stock market, and immediately prohibit the issuing of any new shares for those purposes.

Insurance companies will be required to stress-test their total exposure against projected climate hazards, revise their investment strategies in line with the UK’s obligations, including its equity obligations under the Glasgow Accord, and create innovative methods to address climate-related risk.

Government to halt HS2 works damaging aquifer

Conference calls for this motion to be recorded in RoPS and for GP leadership and elected members to publicize at all reasonable opportunities.

In September 2021 HS2 Ltd confirmed building additional purification works at Public Water pumping stations across the Colne Valley and closing the main water supply station in Harefield, Hillingdon. This is against UK water regulations which are in place to prevent activities that could lead to additional purification treatment.

Conference affirms that:

  1. Nothing is more important to public health or the economy, than good quality sustainable drinking water.
  2. Under the timescale agreed by the UK with the EU, it is not been possible for the UK to deteriorate raw drinking water resources, even for a short period of time. The time for the UK to grant exemptions, to strict water quality protection, ran out in 2012.
  3. The HS2 Act (2017) does not disapply any water protection legislation.
  4. In parts of Affinity Water Ltd Central Region, the public are drinking water that has travelled much further distances and has undergone further purification treatments.
  5. The eastern leg of HS2 was cancelled in November 2021 due to spiralling costs. Costs to mitigate for HS2 works in the aquifer are also rising, with a possibility of irreparable damage being done. It is now time for damage limitation.

Therefore, Conference calls upon the Government to halt works in the Mid Chilterns Chalk aquifer until HS2 can show that all risks to groundwater have been assessed, mitigated and that raw water quality can be protected throughout construction and operation of the railway line.

Condemn and campaign against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Conference notes the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Conference condemns this Bill as grossly authoritarian and unsuitable for any democracy to enact as law, as it infringes substantially on the essential rights of free speech, free protest, free assembly, and free conscience.

Conference commits the Green Party of England & Wales to fighting this Bill at every possible stage in all possible ways before it becomes law, and to fighting for its repeal in all possible ways should it become law. Conference condemns this attempt of the government to curtail our fundamental and hard-won rights and freedoms.

Conference asserts that the proposed 10 year penalty for damaging memorials is grossly disproportionate, exceeding many penalties given for violent crimes.

Conference acknowledges that the Bill’s proposals to criminalise “unauthorised encampments” and trespass seem designed to target Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, and condemns these measures as discriminatory.

Conference also upholds the values of peaceful protest and direct action, recognising that they form an essential part of a healthy democracy. Conference recognises the following as legitimate peaceful protest tactics:

  • Attaching oneself to another person, object or to land, often termed “locking on”
  • Obstructing non-emergency transport and infrastructure works
  • The creation of noise, through chanting, shouts, speeches, music and other means
  • Encouraging others to attend a protest, publicly or privately.
  • Various other protest tactics proscribed in the Bill.

Fossil Fuel non-proliferation treaty

Conference notes that to limit global heating to below 1.5°C, the world will need to decrease fossil fuel production by at least 6% per year between 2020 and 2030 – and to complement measures to reduce emissions and the demand for fossil fuels with measures to reduce their production and supply.

Calls on the UK Government and Welsh Senedd to publicly endorse the need for a Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT); to seek international agreement for a treaty to phase out fossil fuel production; and to bring forward comprehensive domestic fossil fuel regulation for a fast and fair transition.

Instructs the campaigns and external communications coordinators to prioritise promotion of a FFNPT in the Party’s work tackling the climate emergency.

Urges local and regional parties to campaign in support of a FFNPT and councillors to bring forward supportive local authority motions.

Late and Emergency motions

Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine

The Green Party condemns Putin’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine and we send our solidarity to the brave people of Ukraine.

We reject the Russian claim that the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are anything other than parts of the sovereign state of Ukraine. We acknowledge that this conflict originated with the Russian aggression in Donetsk and Luhansk.

We call for the UK to follow the EU in waiving visa requirements for refugees of all nationalities fleeing Ukraine and to provide them with safe routes to sanctuary.

We welcome the package of sanctions announced so far, while noting that many are long overdue. We would extend sanctions to include a comprehensive export and import ban, including oil and gas, and immediate action to seize the assets of those close to the Putin regime.

Kremlin-linked interference in British politics through financial dealings at multiple levels, meddling in UK elections and connections in Parliament, are a corrupting force in British public life that must be addressed to protect our democracy and national security. The UK Government must urgently undertake a full investigation of the security threat posed to UK democracy by Russia.

Our failure to challenge Russian authoritarianism and the abuses of the Putin regime is linked to our addiction to fossil fuels. We must ensure that by next winter we have reduced our energy demand and massively increased our domestic energy supply. We call on the Head of Communications to publish this statement widely.

Last updated on 2022-03-04 at 20:11

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