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

13
Apr 17

County Council Candidates

The Green Party have launched their Mendip District campaign for the Somerset County Council Election, with more seats contested than ever before – and candidates personally endorsed by Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP.

Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas MP.

The Green Party’s leader said: “Voting Green gives you the chance to elect councillors who will fight your corner, and stand up for your interests.  We know that Greens can win in Frome and in Glastonbury & Street – and that by doing so and working with other parties we can make a huge difference.  So if you want councillors to work tirelessly for your community please vote Green on 4th May.

Green Party spokesperson, Mendip District Councillor Shane Collins said “Our candidates provide an opportunity for voters to oppose the cuts, defend services, protect green spaces, and our environment.  Through working with our three Mendip District Council Councillors and our many Parish and Town Councillors, the Green Party can ensure Mendip’s towns remain vibrant.

Green County Council candidates for Frome, L-R: John Clarke, Martin Dimery, and Pepita Collins.

On 20th April, there will be a free public meeting at the Cheese And Grain, Frome, where Independents for Frome Town Councillors Peter Macfadyen, Mel Usher, and Jean Boulton will join the Green Party’s District Councillors Shane Collins, Des Harris, and Stina Falle, and the Green’s County candidates to discuss ‘How Frome can thrive as a green town in Somerset’.

Jon Cousins, Green SCC candidate Glastonbury & Street.

In Glastonbury & Street, the Greens have selected hard-working Town Councillor and Mayor of Glastonbury Jon Cousins as their candidate, who said he was honoured to have been chosen, adding: “For years the Tories have taken their hold of Somerset for granted.  But with the County Council £22million in debt, and Children’s Services in ‘special measures’ following the 2013 and 2015 Ofsted inspections – judging the overall effectiveness of arrangements for the protection of children ‘inadequate’ – we need to send a message that their complacency is not good enough.  The Greens can win in Glastonbury & Street.  We are a voice for real change, and represent real opposition to the disastrous Tory cuts in Somerset.

The Greens are standing nine candidates across the Mendip District, including: Jon Cousins in Glastonbury & Street, John Clarke, Martin Dimery, and Pepita Collins in Frome, Peter Harlow in Shepton Mallet, David Hine in Mendip Hills, Paul Crummay in Wells, Jono Ekin in Mendip Central & East, and Theo Simon in Mendip South.

Theo Simon, Green SCC candidate Mendip South.

The election takes place on Thursday 4th May, and polling stations will be open from 7 am to 10 pm.

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.