23
Feb 21

Green’s call for Universal Basic Income trial in Mendip

At the Mendip District Council meeting on Monday, 22nd February, councillors passed a motion overwhelmingly to support a trial of Universal Basic Income in Mendip.

The motion was proposed by Cllr. Shane Collins, leader of the Green Party Group, and seconded by Cllr. Ros Wyke, LibDem leader of Mendip – and passed with cross party support.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr. Collins said:

“Tonight the council voted overwhelmingly to support our motion for a UBI trial in Mendip. Many thanks to the 29 Green and LibDem councillors who voted in favour. Our next step is to write to the government asking for a trial – so don’t hold your breath – but Mendip is now one of many councils who have asked for a trial. This is progressive pressure to make sure UBI is debated at (and before) the next election.”

“In a time of COVID, Brexit, Artificial Intelligence, the ‘gig economy’, and Climate Emergency, the amount of paid jobs are shrinking and with 5.8 million people on Universal Credit and often falling through the net, now is the time for a UBI trial in Mendip.”

“UBI would simplify and replace benefits such as Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits and work alongside housing benefit and carers allowance, with additional UBI payments for groups of people who experience barriers to working, including disabled people, single parents and people of pension age – offering basic financial security for all people at a time when it is needed more than ever.”

The motion in full:

A Universal Basic Income Trial in Mendip

Motion to be moved by: Shane Collins, Keyford Ward Green Party Councillor, seconded by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of MDC.

Date submitted: 9th February 2021.

Passed: 22nd February 2021.

This council notes:

1. The drastic impacts of the Covid pandemic on employment and household incomes in Mendip, in particular the self employed, those on zero hours contracts and people working in the arts, festival and cultural industries.

2. The threat to income and employment from Brexit, climate breakdown, automation and artificial intelligence, which could affect a great many more jobs in future;

3. The development of universal basic income (UBI) trials in other countries, which offer a non-means-tested sum paid by the state to cover the basic cost of living, which is paid to all citizens individually, regardless of employment status, wealth, or marital status, which has been widely debated in recent months;

4. The resolutions of other local authorities including Sheffield, Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham, Lewes, and Brighton and Hove (with cross party support) calling for trials of UBI;

5. A network of Universal Basic Income Labs has been set up and works with local authorities across the UK developing UBI proposals to address problems such as poverty, inequality, discrimination and environmental damage, long-term and immediately, in relation to coronavirus.

6. UBI has been Green Party Policy since the 1970s and now taken up by the Liberal Democrats and more recently the Labour manifesto calling for a UBI trial.

7. The time has come for Universal Basic Income.

This council believes:

1. That the current benefit system is failing citizens, with Universal Credit causing hardship to many communities;

2. A UBI is the fairest, most effective way to mitigate the effects of coronavirus on people’s incomes as it does not discriminate between employment status, caring responsibilities, age, or disability when providing basic support;

3. There is a danger of increasing numbers of people facing poverty as a result of the coronavirus crisis;

4. Testing a UBI is needed, as a UBI has the potential to help address key challenges such as inequality, poverty, precarious employment, loss of community, and breach of planetary boundaries through:

i. Giving employers a more flexible workforce whilst giving employees greater freedom to change their jobs;

ii. Valuing unpaid work, such as caring for family members and voluntary work;

iii. Removing the negative impacts of benefit sanctions and conditionality; and

iv. Giving people more equal resources within the family, workplace and society;

v. Breaking the link between work and consumption, thus helping reduce strain on the environment.

vi. Enabling greater opportunities for people to work in community and cultural activities or to train or reskill in areas that will be needed to transition to a lower-carbon economy.

5. The success of a UBI pilot should not be measured only by impact upon take-up of paid work, but also the impact upon communities and what the people within them do, how they feel, and how they relate to others and the environment around them; and

6. Given its history of social innovation, wealth of expertise, and active networks across community, business and public services, Mendip is ideally placed to pilot a UBI.

Full Council calls on the Chief Executive / Leader to:

1. Send a joint letter with the other party leaders to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the leader of the party in Government, their counterparts in all opposition political parties in parliament, and all local MPs, and media asking for a trial of Universal Basic Income in Mendip citing the above reasons.

14
Sep 20

Join The Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign!

Green Mayor of Glastonbury, Cllr. Jon Cousins, joins Extinction Rebellion outside the Town Hall to call on Somerset County Council to divest from fossil fuel companies.

At the end of August, all five councils in Somerset were targeted by Extinction Rebellion over investments in fossil fuels by the councils’ pension fund.

Somerset is on the front line of climate change. Climate Change has caused, and is predicted to cause, a much greater risk of flooding and extreme weather. After the devastating floods of the Somerset Levels in 2013, Somerset County Council saw the terrible impact of climate change first hand. The Council recognises the potential impacts of climate change yet its pension fund invests over £120,000,000 in the very fossil fuel companies that are causing climate change!

Since 2015, Greens in Mendip have been leading the call for Somerset County Council to divest from fossil fuel.

Green Party district councillor for Frome Keyford, Shane Collins, who is leading the campaign for the SCC pension fund to divest, said: “Somerset County Council recognises that it must do whatever it can to tackle climate change and it has a responsibility to divest from an industry that jeopardises the future of our planet.”

“Instead of fossil fuel investment, SCC Pension Fund Committee should invest in solutions to climate change; investments that protect pensions and planet, joining The British Medical Association, Bristol City Council, and Oxford City Council – who have all recently agreed to make the commitment to no direct investment in the fossil fuel industry.”

Please sign our petition, and share widely.

Over one thousand people so far have signed the petition urging the council to heed the advice of financial experts and remove its investments from overvalued fossil fuel companies, but so far the council seems unwilling to acknowledge how it contributes to climate change with these unwise investments.

Useful links:

Our petition - please sign!

Fossil Free UK

14
Jan 19

Come and Stand with Us on 2nd May – A Call for Green Candidates

Have you got that burning sense of injustice and would like to channel it on the front line of debate? …then please come and stand with us!

There are many ways in which you can help get your voice heard:

  • if you are not a member already? Please join Glastonbury & Street Green Party
  • already a member! Why not stand for the Green Party – on Thursday, 2nd May 2019 – in the up-and-coming District, Town, and Parish elections?
  • volunteer with us – distributing leaflets, staffing our stalls, helping us at events!

In Glastonbury, there are 16 seats on the Town Council, and we already have more Town Council candidates confirmed than any of the other parties! However, we want 16 GSGP members to stand; ‘a full slate’ – which proved a winning strategy last time.

Find out more, please contact Christine Prior – Local Party Contact & Membership Secretary, e-mail: members@gsgp.org.uk

8
Dec 16

Switch EDF Off !

East Mendip Green Party will pay you to switch from EDF* to Ecotricity or Good Energy

• £40 for switching gas and electricity dual-fuel
• £20 for switching single fuel

Leader of the Green Party group on Mendip District Council and initiator of ‘Switch EDF Off’, Councillor Shane Collins posted on social media: “Feeling frustrated over Hinkley? So are we. EDF are in deep debt – 38billion and counting. Let’s switch EDF off by boycotting them. Please spread the word and let’s break EDF – and nuclear – and support renewables. It pays to go green!

Green Mayor of Glastonbury, Jon Cousins, endorses ‘Switch EDF Off’

Green Mayor of Glastonbury, Jon Cousins, endorses ‘Switch EDF Off’

If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please take a look at the ‘Switch EDF Off’ website.

* As well as EDF, who are 65% nuclear, East Mendip Green Party will pay you to leave any provider of nuclear energy. For instance, British Gas is 35% nuclear. Check the fuel mix of your energy provider HERE.

 

7
Dec 16

Green Councillor co-ordinates Syrian refugee volunteers

Following the successful housing of two Syrian families in Frome earlier this year as part of the ‘Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme’, Mendip District Council recently sought to establish the viability of housing a couple of families in Glastonbury or Street.

A Steering Group was formed some weeks ago comprising members of the community from Glastonbury and Street along with Councillors from both Councils. As co-ordinator of the Steering Group, Glastonbury’s Green Councillor and Deputy Mayor Emma George is in the process of organising a core group of volunteers from the community who’d be prepared to offer tangible support to the families once they are here.

Call for volunteers to support Syrian families in Mendip.

Call for volunteers to support Syrian families in Mendip.

The type of voluntary support needed could involve anything from help with getting to and from hospital and doctor’s appointments to English language coaching – and everything in between – which will help the refugees acclimatise to life in the UK.

The Steering Group is looking for privately rented accommodation suitable for housing a family; preferably not in too isolated a location. Full support will be given to potential landlords/ladies both in advance and during the process.

Speaking about the situation to the local press, Cllr. George reported, “I am happy to say that Glastonbury Town Council is also fully supportive of the initiative. As you’d expect, initially, there will be a lot of assistance from the relevant statutory agencies – but the overall aim is to encourage the refugee families towards and independent life. First, however, the search is on for suitable properties in which to house the families.”

I am pleased to announce that we have located a potentially suitable property in Glastonbury and are keen to find another one, also in Glastonbury, so the two families are able to support each other closely from within the same community.”

Anyone who thinks they may know of such a property or landlord/lady, would like more information, or who is interested in volunteering as part of the re-housng group can contact Cllr. Emma George, on emmageorge17@gmail.com or via Glastonbury Town Council Office on 01458 831769.

Syrian refugee families will be coming to Glastonbury and Street area from SomersetLive, 5th December 2016