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WALTHAM FOREST AND REDBRIDGE Green Party

News Archive 2012


8th December 2012

Greens Join National Anti-Fur Demonstration

On Saturday 8th December, Greens including Mark Dawes, co-ordinator of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, joined the annual National Anti-Fur demonstration in London. The demonstration was organised by the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade and was supported by Animal Defenders International.

The British Government has banned fur farming, but still allows fur to be sold in high street shops.

Although it has been illegal to breed and kill animals for fur in this country for over a decade, it is still legal for shops to import and sell fur from other countries. Yet if they were to produce those very same fur items in this country they could be arrested and brought before the courts for animal cruelty.

London in particular remains a major centre of the fur trade, with hundreds of shops throughout the capital selling fur. On Saturday 8th December, a series of demos were held outside the shops and businesses concerned, including some of the most famous names in fashion and retail such as Burberry, Joseph, Dolce and Gabbana and Harrods - the only department store in the UK which still sells fur - which continue to profit from the cruel fur trade.

The fur trade involves extreme cruelty to animals, most of which are kept in fur farms where they are imprisoned in tiny, wire cages until they are killed in crude ways such as electrocution or gassing. The animals that are caught in the wild are caught in steel traps that leave the animal in agony for hours or sometimes days. As well as for coats, fur is used for trimmings on coats and gloves, sometimes without the buyer knowing it is real fur.

“The fur trade is a particularly barbaric industry and completely unnecessary as it is only human vanity that keeps it in business” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, “Whilst the Government has banned fur farming in this country, it still allows fur to be sold in shops; it should ban the sale of fur too”.

“Anyone who buys fur helps keep in business the cruel and barbaric fur farms overseas so I would urge everyone not to wear fur; with enough pressure, we can end this cruel industry” he added.

1st December 2012

Greens Join Demonstration For Action On Climate Change

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From left to right, Jean Lambert MEP, Steve Lambert and Mark Dawes.

Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined the Campaign Against Climate Change demonstration for action on climate change last Saturday, December 1st. The demonstration begun with a pipeline “built” by activists that went from the Canadian High Commission to the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square to signal outrage at the continued exploitation of high-carbon and environmentally damaging tar sands in Canada and the plans to pipe it to the US.

There was a march to Parliament to call for action on climate change. At Parliament a “fracking rig” was built to show opposition to the expansion into this country of the risky and destructive practice of “hydraulic fracturing” or "fracking" for previously un-tappable "shale gas". This threatens to expand the exploitation of fossil fuel in a way that would effectively blow the (inadequate but hard fought for) Climate Act out of the water.

There is now a scientific consensus that climate change is happening and it is the result of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and the farming of animals for meat and dairy products. In fact, it is happening at a faster rate than previously thought. Unless action is taken now, the planet will experience extreme weather, food shortages, mass extinction of species and escalating wars over resources.

“Climate change is the biggest threat facing the planet and the environmentally destructive tar sands and fracking threaten to increase the use of fossil fuels that cause climate change” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party. “We need to invest in genuinely green energy like solar, wave and wind power not more fossil fuels or nuclear” he added. “Unless we do so we will see more extreme weather like the recent floods as the planet heats up” he concluded.

1st November 2012

Write to Eric Pickles to stop cruel dog racing

Following Waltham Forest Council passing a planning application for houses to be built on Walthamstow dog track in May, Mayor Boris Johnson has now approved the scheme. The gambling industry is calling on Eric Pickles - the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – to intervene and pro-dog racing Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy has been urging people to write to Eric Pickles to call in the scheme.

We suggest people write to Eric Pickles to ask him to not call in the scheme and so reject any return of dog racing. Eric Pickles email is eric.pickles@communities.gsi.gov.uk

Below is a template letter, please feel free to adapt or cut and paste into your correspondence and please include your name and address in all your correspondence with the Secretary of State.

Eric Pickles MP has 21 days from October 30th to decide whether to intervene.

Dear Mr Pickles

Re: Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium, 300 Chingford Road, London E4 8SJ

I am writing to you about the proposed L&Q scheme on the site of Walthamstow Stadium. I am aware that it has been referred to you.

I would urge you not to call in this scheme. The site has been unused for nearly five years now and Waltham Forest desperately needs housing and the investment the scheme would bring.

There is no viable alternative. The gambling industry are lobbying for the return of the dog track but both the Mayor and GLA assessments found that the dog track was not viable. A previous assessment found the dog track scheme was “not financially viable (by a significant margin)”.

There have been concerns about the L&Q scheme making a loss but any loss would come out of L&Q reserves and the tax payer would not be liable – L&Q deny the scheme would make a loss anyway.

Whilst there may be some local people who want the return of dog racing, it is worth noting that of the 2380 representations to the GLA on the scheme, 1990 were opposed to the dog track reopening because of animal welfare concerns. People are now more aware of the cruelty of the dog racing industry.

It is time to move on and get housing and investment into Waltham Forest rather than for the site to remain empty for even longer with no benefit to Waltham Forest.

Thank you for considering my opinion on this issue and I hope you will let me know your decision on this matter.

30th October 2012

Greens welcome Mayor’s decision on Walthamstow Stadium scheme

Whilst there are some concerns about the L&Q scheme, there is a shortage of housing in the borough and no viable alternative so the Greens welcomed the Mayor’s approval of the L&Q scheme on the Walthamstow Stadium site.

The Greens have long campaigned against the return of dog racing on animal welfare grounds – it is a cruel sport and causes suffering to the dogs racing, to the puppies killed that did not make the grade and the dogs discarded when they no longer raced.

The gambling industry and MPs who are lobbying for the return of dog racing are not facing reality. The Mayor’s report says that both his office and the GLA assessment of a return of dog racing found that it was not viable. As did a previous assessment that said a dog track was ““not financially viable (by a significant margin).”

This should not be a surprise as dog racing is a dying sport; there used to be 33 dog tracks in London, now it is down to three and Walthamstow itself closed with dwindling attendance. There are reasons for this such as dog racing is part of the gambling industry and has been hit by internet gambling where people can bet on sporting events around the globe and people are far more aware of the cruelty to animals involved in dog racing. It is worth noting that of the 2380 representations to the GLA on the scheme, 1990 were opposed to the dog track reopening because of animal welfare concerns.

There are suggestions that the matter will go to Eric Pickles as Minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. However, in a reply to Mark Dawes, the Minister’s Office stated that “ the decision as to what will become of the Walthamstow Stadium site is a matter for the Council. Local authorities are democratically elected organisations, and as such, are independent from central government. We cannot, therefore interfere in planning matters.”

“I hope Eric Pickles keeps his word to not interfere on this issue” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party. “People may look back with nostalgia at a night at the dogs but it is time to move on and consign this cruel “sport” to history” he added.

18th October 2012

Greens condemn animal circus in Waltham Forest

Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined protesters outside Zippos Circus on Chingford Plain to protest against the circus using animals in its performances on the opening night, Thursday 18th October. Zippos Circus are one of only nine circuses in the UK that continue to use animals, the other 20 UK circuses do not use animals. Zippos Circus uses Horses, Ponies and Budgerigars in they're performances.

Using any animal in a circus is cruel. Whilst horses and ponies may be domesticated animals, they too suffer in circuses and are often forced to perform tricks under duress. The animals spend large amounts of time being transported around the country and are often being tethered for long periods when not travelling so do not get enough exercise.

Because there had previously being a circus without animals on Chingford Plain, many people were unaware that Zippos Circus used animals and were disappointed to find out that was the case. Opinion polls show a large majority of people want a ban on all animals in circuses.

“It is very disappointing to see a circus with animals back in Waltham Forest after years with only circuses that do not have animals in it’s performances” said Mark Dawes. “It is cruel to the animals involved and we will be working to ban all animal circuses from Waltham Forest” he added.

15th October 2012

Greens urge people to march for a future

A Future That Works

The Green Party is urging people in Waltham Forest and Redbridge to attend the TUC march for A Future that Works, beginning at 11.00am on the Embankment in London, and going to Hyde Park

Why should people from Waltham Forest and Redbridge attend this march?

Because we have a Coalition Government that is cutting essential services and useful employment and not even trying to collect the taxes which would prevent such cuts. Tax evasion and avoidance is costing this country about £100 billion per year. Every public sector job loss means a loss of spending in our local economy, leading on average to one private sector job loss. The empty shopfronts in our town centres, and local unemployment rates, show the consequences of the Coalition.

In short, Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party believes the Coalition Government is responsible for the double-dip recession which is afflicting our Country - not the previous Government, nor the Eurozone.

The Coalition could employ more tax officials to collect taxes on time. It could raise cigarette and alcohol duty and not force £20 billion of cuts on the NHS in England and Wales. It could raise Air Passenger Duty, add new council tax bands at the top of the scale, close tax havens on UK territory and raise the top rate of income tax back to 50p in the £ for the highest paid.

The Coalition could stop being a Government by the rich, for the rich. Demonstrating on 20th October in large numbers will send a clear message.

21st August 2012

Greens call for Provender to stop selling foie gras

Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party is calling on the Provender restaurant in Wanstead to stop selling foie gras. Although the production of foie gras has been banned in the UK, imported foie gras is currently sold in the restaurant. The production of foie gras is very cruel and causes great suffering to ducks and geese.

Foie gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese huge amounts of food so that their livers swell painfully to up to ten times their normal size. This is done by pumping large quantities of corn and fat directly into their stomachs via a funnel, up to four times a day for up to 18 days. The diseased livers of the ducks and geese are then sold as “high class” cuisine – foie gras.

According to Compassion in World Farming “currently, foie gras can only be labelled as such if the liver is at least 300g for ducks and 400g for geese, a size which can only be produced by unnatural force-feeding that causes welfare problems.”

Local Green Party activist Mark Dawes also joined a protest against the sale of foie gras outside Fortnum and Mason in Central London last Saturday, organised by animal rights group PETA. Sadly, Fortnum and Mason still sell this cruel product unlike Selfridges, House of Fraser and all major supermarket chains who now refuse to sell foie gras.

“Foie Gras is a cruel product and its sale should be banned,” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “I hope people will not buy foie gras from Provender and that the restaurant acts with compassion and stops selling it,” he added.

14th August 2012

No medals for Government policy on sport

The amazing successes of British athletes at London 2012 are due in large part to National Lottery funding decisions from the 1990s. Without in any way wishing to minimise their wholehearted dedication to their sport, and the sacrifices endured by them and their families along the way, these successes have come in spite of, not because of the sports programmes of David Cameron’s or indeed, previous governments.

Unfortunately, local schools in Waltham Forest are unlikely to be the happy beneficiaries of the Olympics sporting legacy. Given the government's commitment to cutting the budgets for the very services and resources needed to deliver the proposed legacy, and further, given the current shortage of school places in Waltham Forest, how can the council invest effectively in school sports facilities? I do not see how any local school will be able to improve its sports offerings for all youngsters, let alone the talented ones. Due to the shortage of school places in the borough (an underreported crisis if there ever was one), one primary school in Leytonstone (Gwyn Jones) is doubling in size from 210 to 420 pupils. To accommodate the extra students, it is currently building new classrooms over a playground where previously children had practised football for decades!

The National Lottery is no substitute for the accountable system of wealth distribution that would be required to bring about a just society. It is essential that investment is given to sport not only to win medals at this or the Rio Olympics, but to ensure the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of young people. Otherwise the result of our government's shortsighted slash and cut strategy will mean that we will see more of what we witnessed in the recent riots in London and beyond.

9th August 2012

Stella Creasy and "legal loan sharks"

Although Stella Creasy should be commended for her campaign against "legal loan sharks" (recently she criticised the sponsorship of a new Ant and Dec show by Wonga), it is disappointing that at the same time she campaigns for the gambling industry as they bid to bring back dog racing to Walthamstow Stadium as both industries profit from the less affluent and vulnerable. In fact, the industries can work in tandem with "legal loan shark" shops placed near betting outlets.

This week's Channel 4 program Dispatches highlighted the problems of gambling and the increase in gambling outlets - as has happened in her constituency of Walthamstow - after the last Labour Government loosened regulation. The Dispatches program also revealed that annually an estimated £75 million is betted on dog racing by people with a gambling problem and it is very sad that Stella Creasy strongly supports the expansion of that industry and all that entails.

2nd August 2012

Local Green lobbies City Hall on Walthamstow Stadium

Dog racing option economically unfeasible

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Picture shows Mark Dawes outside City Hall

Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined other animal activists lobbying officers and the Deputy Mayor at City Hall on the Walthamstow Stadium issue. The lobby asserted the unfeasibility of any scheme involving the return of dog racing. However, the lobby was not advocating the L&Q scheme currently under review, which itself does not involve dog racing.

City Hall was informed of the animal welfare implications of dog racing: that it is cruel - in the breeding where puppies are killed that do not make the grade, in injuries to dogs whilst racing and in the retiring of dogs at a time when dogs are being put down due to a shortage of homes. They were also informed of the economic unfeasibility of the return of dog racing. It had failed previously and a review of a dog track scheme found it “not financially viable (by a significant margin).” A decision on the L&Q scheme for the site is expected in 4 – 6 weeks.

Concern has also been raised about Iain Duncan Smith’s threat to L&Q (as reported in the WF Guardian) that if they do not meet Bob Morton, who wishes to buy the land for a scheme involving dog racing, Duncan Smith would “go back to the Secretary of State to question their right and status as social housing providers”.

Whatever people’s opinion may be of the L&Q scheme, it was passed by Waltham Forest Council and Bob Morton’s reported offer is millions less than L&Q are said to have paid for the land.

“It was a welcome opportunity to inform City Hall of both the cruelty of dog racing and its economic unfeasibility” said Mark Dawes. “Not only is Iain Duncan Smith disregarding animal welfare by advocating dog racing, he is showing a lack of respect for the democratic process in his attempt to pressure L&Q - this is very disappointing behaviour from an MP, let alone a Government Minister,” he added.

28th July 2012

An Inspiration to the People?

Greens march against the corporate takeover of the Olympics

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Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party at the Wennington Green rally.

Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined the march organised by the Counter Olympics Network against the corporate takeover and militarisation of the Olympics. The protest was held on Saturday July 28th and started at Mile End, marching past Bow Quarter, the Tower Hamlets Olympics surface-to-air missile site, and ending in a rally at Wennington Green with around 500 people.

The demonstration was not against the principle of the Olympics but the way it has been taken over by corporations.

London 2012 says it is inspiring young people to take up sport for health, but two of the biggest high-profile sponsors are McDonalds and Coca Cola whose products of junk food and sugar filled drinks are a major cause of obesity, this at a time when childhood obesity is a growing problem in the UK.

Other leading sponsors are BP, responsible for environmental destruction with recent oil spills, Dow Chemicals who refuse to take responsibility for the 1984 Bhopal chemical leak where people still suffer today and Rio Tinto which has caused environmental destruction with its mining activities.

The Olympic movement promotes respect, fair play and equality but these values are often ignored when it comes to workers in developing countries who are making the sportswear worn by the athletes. They are exploited – paid poverty wages, work excessive hours in unsafe conditions and have no voice on their pay and working conditions.

The Greens also oppose the militarisation of the Olympics with missiles being placed on residential sites such as Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, against the wishes of the residents.

“The Olympics should be a positive event, showcasing the best of sport and inspiring young people to take up sport but the corporate takeover of the Olympics has drowned out that message,” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “Instead, the message is the promotion of junk food and drink, unethical companies and disengagement of the local community as the corporate bosses drive past in their ‘VIP’ lanes,” he added.

14th July 2012

Local Greens call for Olympics to be Sweat-Shop free

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David Hamilton (left) and Mark Dawes in Walthamstow with “Olympic torches”.

Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party gave out “Olympic torches” calling for the human rights of workers making Olympic goods and sportswear to be respected. They were given out in Walthamstow Town Square – Waltham Forest being one of the Olympic boroughs – on Saturday July 14th. A lot of people who took the “torches” were concerned with conditions of the workers making the products.

The Olympic movement promotes respect, fair play and equality but these values are often ignored when it comes to workers in developing countries who are making the sportswear worn by the athletes. They are exploited – paid poverty wages, work excessive hours in unsafe conditions and have no voice on their pay and working conditions. Sales of Olympics goods are expected to top £1bn but this will not trickle down to those making the products - workers making products for the major brands in Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka are not being paid a living wage, some do not even get the legal minimum.

The campaign is part of the Playfair 2012 which is part of an international campaign that begun in the run up to the Athens 2004 Olympics and continued with Beijing 2008. The UK Playfair 2012 campaign is coordinated by the TUC and Labour Behind the Label and is supported by a number of unions and NGOs including Anti-Slavery International, War on Want and People and Planet.

“The Playfair 2012 is an important campaign that highlights the exploitation of workers in developing countries that is all too often ignored in the coverage of London 2012” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “The Olympic movement is supposed to be about respect, fair play and equality - that should apply to the workers too” he added.

For more details, see (http://www.playfair2012.org.uk)

4th July 2012

Farm Animalympics?

Unethical, Cruel, Dishonest and a Waste of £27M

Recently unveiled plans have confirmed that organisers plan to use dozens of farm animals including sheep, ducks and chickens in the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Subjecting these animals to a crowd of 62,000 people, the noise, lights and atmosphere within the Olympic stadium is irresponsible and has the potential to seriously compromise the animals' welfare. Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party condemn this thoughtless and cruel use of our fellow creatures and demand that the plans for the use of live animals be withdrawn immediately

The UK prides itself on being a nation of animal lovers - exploiting animals on this global stage is unacceptable.

A petition of over 63,000 signatures, collected in just two weeks was sent to the Olympic Organisers (LOCOG) on June 28th in a final plea for them to reconsider the plans to use live animals in the opening ceremony. Despite LOCOG’s assurances that the animals would be monitored and cared for, the welfare of the individuals involved would inevitably be compromised. Further, the ethical implications and misleading messaging with regard to agriculture in this country are unacceptable as standalone issues in their own right. The portrayal of free ranging animals in lush green pastures is simply unrepresentative of the contemporary UK farming industry. The majority of animals farmed in Great Britain are subjected to intensive farming methods; crowded into cages, barns and industrialised units. To suggest otherwise to a global audience of billions is false, unethical and damaging to the cause of progressive reform.

Bill Measure, local Green Party member and Larkswood Ward by-election candidate, was one of the petition signatories. He said:

“Just as performing animals are being all but phased out of circuses in this country the Olympic organisers are herding animals into the biggest circus ring in town. Humans have the choice of whether to go into the crowds and noise of the Olympic Stadium; these animals do not. Therefore we call for these plans to be withdrawn.”

21st June 2012

Protest against dog racing on Monday 25th June

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Larkswood Green candidate Bill Measure (right) talks to Annette Crosbie

A protest has been organised by anti-greyhound racing campaign groups outside Walthamstow Stadium - details below.

Please help the Mayor of London make a simple choice Affordable Housing or Industrialised Cruelty?

The Mayor of London - Boris Johnson - is considering a proposal to develop affordable housing in Chingford. Although the local council have approved the plans - there is a real threat that the Mayor will overturn their decision and refuse the plans - allowing for the return of racing and the gambling on dogs to Walthamstow.

Throughout this process - there is one voice that has been silenced and that is the voice for the greyhounds.

A peaceful awareness event has been organised for Monday June 25th at 2pm - outside the disused stadium.

We will be inviting local residents and the media to come along and talk to us and meet the greyhounds. Long serving advocate for greyhounds - Annette Crosbie OBE - will be attending and we are encouraging all greyhound adoption groups to bring their dogs along to highlight the already extreme pressures they face in finding homes for retired greyhounds.

The address for the stadium is Chingford Road - Walthamstow E4 8SJ.

Facebook users can access up to date information of the event here (http://www.facebook.com/events/312920958782256/)

If you need help with transport or need further information - please email caged_nw@hotmail.co.uk or phone 07904305251

Please try to attend this important event - be a voice for the dogs and stop this cruelty from returning to Walthamstow!

17th May 2012

Wanstead Flats - Join The People's Picnic

There will be a picnic on Wanstead Flats on Sunday 10th June from 1pm to celebrate this 3.5 hectare space which will be taken as the main Olympic police site for 90 days from 27th June to midnight on 20th September. It is the fairground site between Lake House Road, Dames Road and Centre Road. (We will also be celebrating in September getting it back on time and will be reporting on its condition.)

All welcome - bring banners and food to share - there are local pubs a short distance away in Dames Road and in Forest Gate for facilities; and a SSSI next to it with skylarks. The event will also raise awareness of the civil liberties issues surrounding the Olympics and how individuals can inform themselves and monitor this juggernaut.

The site is across Lake House Road from the Fred Wiggs tower and its missiles, (as pictured on the New York Times website). Nearest station is Wanstead Park on the Gospel Oak - Barking line, and the best connected is Forest Gate (national rail 4 minutes from Stratford and all are within the oyster card system) turn left and walk up Woodgrange Road which becomes Centre Road, the site is on the left; bus 58 from Walthamstow passes Leyton tube and goes down Dames Road on its way to East Ham. Other buses go through Forest Gate or along the Romford Road.

This is a link to a blog about the picnic and has a flyer which you can print for your friend and neighbours - (http://www.blowe.org.uk/2012/05/wanstead-flats-join-peoples-picnic.html)

14th May 2012

Write to the Mayor to stop cruel dog racing

Waltham Forest Council last week passed a planning application for houses to be built on Walthamstow dog track and the decision has gone to the Mayor Boris Johnson. Pro-dog racing Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy has been urging people both from Waltham Forest and outside the area to write to Mayor Boris Johnson to reject the proposed L&Q scheme on the Walthamstow Stadium site in favour of a scheme to bring back dog racing. We suggest people write to the Mayor to reject any return of dog racing, the Mayor’s emails are mayor@london.gov.uk and Boris.Johnson@london.gov.uk. Below is a template letter, please feel free to adapt or cut and paste into your correspondence. The Mayor has until May 25th to make a decision.

Please also sign the online petition - (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/551/975/506/london-mayor-do-not-consider-a-re-introduction-of-greyhound-racing-as-an-option-for-walthamstow/)


Dear Mr Johnson

Re: Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium, 300 Chingford Road, London E4 8SJ

I’m writing to you as a concerned resident of Waltham Forest/London about the proposal put forward by London & Quadrant Housing Association on the Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium site. Whilst the L&Q scheme does not propose a dog racing track, I am concerned that the dog racing/gambling industry is suggesting you reject the scheme to allow an alternative scheme to be proposed by Bob Morton that would have a dog racing track although currently the scheme has not been submitted as a planning application to the council.

I would urge you to not consider any alternative scheme involving a dog racing track when making your decision on the L&Q scheme.

Firstly, dog racing is a cruel sport, in the breeding where puppies are killed that do not make the grade, injuries to dogs whilst racing and the retiring of dogs at a time when dogs are being put down due to a shortage of homes.

Secondly, it will bring more gambling opportunities into an area where there are already considered to be too many gambling outlets. Many of the jobs the scheme boasts about creating will be part time 'self employed' and in gambling.

And finally on economic grounds, as it is likely to fail as it did previously leaving an empty site again. Greyhound racing is a dying sport, Walthamstow Stadium previously closed and where there were once 33 greyhound tracks in London, there are now just three. Internet gambling has significantly reduced the demand for dog racing.

Please review the proposed L&Q scheme on its merits without considering that any alternative scheme involving a dog track offers a long term solution to Waltham Forest - it does not.

Thank you for considering my opinion on this issue and I hope you will let me know your decision on this matter.

10th May 2012

Greens become third party in London

Greens become third party in Mayoral and Assembly elections in Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest and register more Green votes than anywhere else in London.

For the first time ever the Green Party has overtaken the Liberal Democrats as the third most popular party in Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest.

In last week’s elections for Mayor and the London Assembly, the Green Party significantly outpolled the Liberal Democrats in Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest in every vote.

On the party list, where voters place a cross next to the party they most support, the Greens finished ahead of the Liberal Democrats by 14,252 votes.

In the first-past-the-post election, Caroline Allen received more than twice the votes of the Lib Dem candidate and gave the Conservatives a run for their money.

In the mayoral race the Green party’s mayoral candidate Jenny Jones beat the Lib Dem’s Brian Paddick in North East Constituency in both first and second preference votes.

Caroline Allen, the Green Party’s London Assembly candidate for North East constituency said: “We are hugely grateful to everyone who voted for the Green Party in Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest. This is our best result ever, and shows that the party’s upward momentum is continuing.

“The Green Party has now established itself in Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest and across London as the third party.“

“With these votes comes the responsibility to continue campaigning on the issues that are important to local residents, from protecting people's health and wellbeing to fighting for a more equal Waltham Forest. We look forward to continuing to work with the people of Waltham Forest to achieve this.”

5th May 2012

SOS tactics hinder Planning Decision

On Tuesday May 8th, a decision will be made by the Planning Committee in Waltham Forest on the plans submitted by L&Q for a development on the Walthamstow Stadium site. Unfortunately the pro dog racing campaign group Save Our Stow (SOS) who are campaigning for a dog track have been continually misrepresenting the L&Q scheme to force a sale to Bob Morton for a dog track. Their latest poster has a picture of a very ugly tower block of over ten storeys to represent the L&Q scheme which is nothing like the actual L&Q scheme. They also refer to the L&Q scheme as a “slum housing estate” which it certainly is not. These continual misrepresentations of the L&Q scheme to the local community have meant that some objections to the L&Q scheme are not based on fact but on SOS’s nightmare fictional vision.

There has also been vitriol against those people who speak out against the dog track for reasons of economic viability or animal welfare and there are concerns that unreasonable “pressure” may be put on the councillors on the Planning Committee who are to make the decision.

The aim of SOS is to make L&Q sell the site to Bob Morton for a dog track but if this were to happen it would probably be at a far lower price. That would be of substantial financial benefit to Bob Morton but there would be losers – maybe the taxpayer.

“There are issues with the current L&Q scheme but these need to be addressed in a calm and rational way” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party. “Unfortunately SOS have made this very hard by their misrepresentation of the L&Q scheme and scaremongering” he added.

19th April 2012

Greens support 20mph speed limits

Caroline Allen, Green Assembly candidate for the North East London constituency, expressed her support for a 20mph speed limit in all residential roads as proposed by the council in Waltham Forest. The move is proposed as part of a three year 'Waltham Forest Cycling Plan', which includes other measures and support for the London Cycling Campaign's 'Go Dutch' campaign.

The Green Party have long been campaiging for 20mph across London. In fact the first default 20mph on residential roads was introduced thanks to pressure from a Green Councillor in Islington. This has now been extended to a Borough wide 20mph on all council controlled roads where people live work and shop, something we strongly support. Although as Greens recently showed enforcement is required for the full benefit to be obtained.

20mph is not just of great benefit to cyclists, it makes out streets safer for all pedestrians, but especially for children and older people. It makes our shopping streets more pleasant. In fact evidence shows a reduction in pollution and smoother traffic flows at 20mph.

The proposal for safety devices on all council, and importantly council contractor vehicles, is also an important one, and something we would like to see London wide. However to really make our streets safe for everyone we need a change in attitude from our councils and Mayor. A move away from 'smoothing traffic flow',for which read cars able to move as swiftly as possible with nothing in their way, to roads for everyone. We need dedicated safe space for cyclists and many junctions will need to be rebuilt and redesigned. We need more cycle training and much more safe cycle parking. These are all key points in our London manifesto.

15th April 2012

Boris criticised on animal welfare

As usual, Boris Johnson does not consider the animal welfare implications when advocating the return of dog racing to Walthamstow. The fact is greyhound racing is cruel, in the breeding where puppies are killed that do not make the grade, injuries to dogs whilst racing and the retiring of dogs at a time when dogs are being put down due to a shortage of homes - it a cruel, callous industry. But it should not be a surprise as the Conservatives are very poor on animal issues.

Despite a unanimous vote in the House of Commons for the banning of wild animals in circuses, David Cameron has refused to do so despite the suffering to the animals involved. And it is the Conservatives who want a vote to bring back barbaric fox hunting.

It is time for a solution that addresses the concerns of the local community without the return of a cruel sport to Waltham Forest.

12th April 2012

Green Party Political Broadcast

8th April 2012

Greens unveil plans to deal with housing crisis

Greater protection for tenants, more affordable homes and renovation of empty properties are among the many ideas put forward by the Green Party this week, as housing policy became the focus of campaigning in the upcoming Mayor of London and London Assembly elections.

Recent statistics show that Waltham Forest has the over 1870 empty properties, 36% of which have been empty for more than 6 months.

"You can sum up our housing priorities for London in one word: affordability," said Caroline Allen, Green Assembly candidate for the North East London constituency.

"It's obvious to everyone that London needs to build more affordable homes, that rents need to be affordable, and that homes need to be more affordable to run. Housing policies at borough council level need a complete overhaul, and fresh ideas from the Greens will inject some much-needed new thinking into how to solve London's housing problems."

Greens would create a clearing house system to make publicly owned empty homes available to be brought back into use by self-help co-operatives, and encourage private owners to list their properties on the system.

Caroline said "It's shocking to see properties lying empty while thousands of families are on waiting lists. Leaving houses empty not only deprives people of a decent roof over their heads but it ends up costing more money in the longer term to bring empty houses back into use. Properties are left unoccupied for many reasons, but more often than not this is for long-term economic gain. Landlords and owners should be encouraged to keep residential properties in use."

The Greens' target for building affordable homes is 15,000 per year, with 40% of these to be family-sized. On the issue of rents, the Greens have taken inspiration from the growing success of the campaign for a London Living Wage, and proposed an officially-recognised London Affordable Rent, based on average earnings and household size. And to make homes more affordable to run, there will be more help for Londoners to insulate their homes and drive down fuel bills.

4th April 2012

Greens pledge better access to the tube

Green Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones and local Green Party candidate Haroon Saad have unveiled a fully-costed pledge to make one third of tube network step-free by 2018.

The Party has issued a Tube Map showing only accessible tube stations, highlighting the limited journeys that can be made
(http://jennyforlondon.org/fresh-ideas/accessible-london)

Jones said: “We need to aspire to an inclusive transport system, where no one is prevented for using London's public transport."

“In the year that the Paralympics will be held in London it is shameful that the overwhelming majority of the tube system is still inaccessible to hundreds of thousands of people. This is nothing short of transport apartheid.”

The London Underground has 270 stations, yet a mere 63 are step-free from street to platform, meaning older and disabled passengers are left to run a gauntlet of escalators, stairs and uneven surfaces to access the platform.

Once there, passengers can be faced with a vertical step-up into the train of as much as 12 inches. Transport for London claim to be working on installing platform humps to reduce this gap, but currently these are only available at a handful of stations.

Ken Livingstone promised 90 out of 270 stations would be step-free by 2013. Boris Johnson made the promise of 68 step-free stations by the end of 2010. Neither promise has been fulfilled.

The accessibility manifesto, launched on the same day, focuses on:

Haroon Saad, Green candidate for Havering & Redbridge, said:

"As anyone with a disabled family member will tell you, it is incredibly difficult to move around London together, let alone if you are on your own. But when you talk to other disabled Londoners, their friends and relatives, it is abundantly clear that there are many creative and affordable options for opening up the closed transport system to everyone.”

Haroon concluded: “From ensuring that there are always staff at stations, to installing stair lifts and thinking creatively about the use of escalators, what is required more than anything else is the political will to make it happen."

The manifesto is available here:
(http://jennyforlondon.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/London-GP-2012-Accessibility-Manifesto.pdf)

2nd April 2012

Olympics will not be plastic bag free

Waltham Forest and Rebridge Green Party expressed disappointment at another Olympic U-turn following the discovery that the Olympics will not be plastic bag free - leading to a increased risk of littering and more waste to dispose of.

According to LOCOG’s packing guidelines document, official London 2012 licensees, shops and suppliers will use plastic bags made form low density polyethylene (LDPE), which can be recycled at the end of their life. But the document also states this type of plastic needs specialist recycling facilities in order to be recycled and, according to a response from the Mayor of London, are rarely collected at kerbside or at recycling centres.

The Mayor was quoted in the Daily Mail on 18th January 2010 saying that he hoped to make London a ‘plastic bag free city by 2012 Olympics.’

Darren Johnson Green Party Assembly Member said:

“It’s very worrying that LOCOG shops will be handing out plastic bags that are not easy to recycle. The reality is these are bog standard plastic bags however you dress it up. They are not environmentally friendly and you need specialist facilities in order to recycle them.

LOCOG say they are committed to delivering a ‘zero-waste Games,’ but I don’t see how this can be achieved when you’re handing out thousands of bags which are difficult to recycle.”

Caroline Allen Green Party London Assembly candidate for Walthsm Forest added 'This is just another Olympic failure; from dodgy sponsors such as Dow Chemicals, to chickens and tickets flown from distant destinations the Olympics is failing on many core obligations. Its vital we keep up pressure on those involved and challenge these failures. Jenny Jones, Green Party Mayoral candidate highlighted the issue of imported chicken and achieved a u-turn from the food suppliers who will now use British chicken, as they initially promised.

26th March 2012

Stop Supermarket Spread

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Shop owner Pawan Dhanda, Caroline Allen and Mark Dawes

Waltham Forest Greens today called on the council and the Mayor to protect local businesses from an onslaught of supermarkets.

In Leytonstone alone, both a Sainsburys Local and a Tesco Metro have opened in the past few months, on top of the large superstore present very nearby. These new supermarkets are severely damaging the trading prospects of established local businesses.

Caroline Allen, Waltham Forest Green Party London Assembly candidate, visited some Leytonstone local businesses affected by the new supermarkets and said:

“While many people find supermarkets convenient, they are damaging to the local community. Supermarkets result in the closure of small local retailers: evidence also shows that they result in a net loss of jobs, shifting money out of the local community. It is well recognised that small, local businesses use the services of other local businesses, such as accountants, builders and insurance brokers, while the corporate will do all of this at their Head Office. Unlike local businesses, corporates fail to truly engage in the community.”

While outside the new Sainsburys Local Ms Allen was able to see a large lorry making deliveries to the supermarket, she said:

“This was an inappropriately large vehicle making a delivery at peak lunch time, holding up the traffic and adding to the feeling that this street is not a pleasant place for shoppers to linger.”

Local small business owner of the health food shop Natures Choice, Pawan Dhanda said:

“When the big Tesco opened I noticed an immediate drop in business by 30%. To add insult to injury, the traffic was re-directed which has made the congestion in front of local shops much worse. People have noticed the local shops disappearing; they used to talk about a trip to the High Street and would meet their friends and discuss local issues, now they just go to the supermarket and no one knows each other’s names.”

Mark Dawes, local resident and Green Party activist, added:

“In addition there are wider concerns with the practices of supermarkets. They treat farmers unfairly, forcing down the prices they are paid and pocketing the increased profits themselves. They also favour less healthy processed food and actually tend to reduce the choice available to us.”

Caroline concluded:

“The Council should ensure it makes use of the services of local businesses as much as possible. It should also look at novel ways to promote small local businesses.”

Greens in the London Assembly would use planning policy to ensure that by 2020 all neighbourhoods have a range of essential local services such as chemists and newsagents within walking distance and would lobby the Government to give local authorities much stronger powers to prevent chain stores taking over independent shops, and to control the saturation of certain business types such as takeaways, betting shops and payday loan companies.

20th March 2012

Labour confused on the Gambling Industry

The recent Waltham Forest Labour newspaper contained a big piece on their campaign against betting shops. This is something the Green Party are only too happy to support. These shops are a blight on our high streets and have a significant detrimental impact on the community by encouraging addiction to gambling, the consequent effect on health and well-being and the link with anti-social behaviour.

We are however surprised to see that Labour shares our concerns about the gambling industry as they seem only too happy to support it in another guise. Labour, and in particular the Walthamstow MP, Stella Creasy, are vociferous in their support of the return of the Dog Track; a business that can only succeed if people gamble, and is intimately linked with the betting industry.

So are Labour for or against the gambling industry?

15th March 2012

Green Party supports a Living Wage

We are glad to notice that the council finally agreed to pay all council staff the London Living Wage. It is an issue the Green Party have campaigned on.

It was the work of Green Assembly members that led to the formation of the Living Wage Unit and we will continue to push this measure that really helps lift working people out of poverty. We trust that the Council will ensure their contractors are also paying this wage.

5th March 2012

Green Party Candidate joins Queen’s Brian May to launch Animal Manifesto

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Caroline Allen, Brian May and Jenny Jones

Caroline Allen, Vet and Green Party Candidate for Waltham Forest joined Brian May, Queen guitarist and founder of the animal rights group Save Me, and Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones to launch the London Green Party’s animal manifesto on Monday in Battersea Park.

Jenny Jones said: “I want to make sure this great city leads the country and the world in the way animals are treated, and simple steps at City Hall would make sure that animals in the capital are treated with the respect they deserve.”

Caroline said: “Through policy, education and procurement decisions London could really take the lead in this area and set a great example to other cities. Animals can give a lot of pleasure, whether through watching wildlife in our parks and green spaces, or caring for a family pet. But there are also problems; many animals have miserable lives, whether in a factory farm, laboratory or puppy farm.”

Caroline added “ I know that people in Waltham Forest are very concerned about anti-social behaviour with dogs. Our policies will encourage responsible pet ownership and make sure we deal much better with problem owners and breeders”.

“I am against the return of dog racing to Waltham Forest, as a vet I know the injuries, even death these animals can suffer, and there are already far too many unwanted dogs in London. Greyhound racing is a dying sport and we need to look at positive alternative plans for the site to provide facilities and truly affordable housing that people need’.

Brian May said "I urge anyone who cares about animals to take a look at the Green Party's manifesto for London in their Mayoral Campaign. The Green Party, in this document, have made it clear that they are the only party currently making a better treatment of animals one of their priorities in creating a better London. A vote for Jenny Jones, and votes for the Green Party candidates for the board will move us all further towards a city that truly takes care of its precious wild animals, domestic animals and those in less fortunate situations."

18th February 2012

Green Deputy Leader visits Ilford

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Haroon Saad, Adrian Ramsay and Mark Dawes

Green Party Deputy Leader Adrian Ramsay visited Ilford to join Havering and Redbridge Green candidate Haroon Saad to campaign for a more equal society.

The Tories, Labour and the LibDems have all got policies about creating equality of opportunity. But in reality their policies have been instrumental in creating greater inequality across the board.

Here are some glaring examples of this growing inequality:

In launching the Re-Equalize campaign, Haroon Saad said:

“Labour, Tories, Lib Dems - all have economic policies that have resulted in growing inequalities within London. Their policies have established London as a leading global financial centre but they have also created greater insecurity, growing poverty, and totally unacceptable levels of income inequality.”

Haroon added

“The poorest 30% of Londoners have less than 5% of financial and property wealth. By contrast, the richest 10% of Londoners have 40% of income wealth, 45% of property wealth and 65% of financial wealth. A vote for Labour, Tory or Liberal Democrat is a vote for greater inequality.”

15th February 2012

End Fuel Poverty in Waltham Forest

Caroline Allen, Green GLA Candidate for North East Constituency, is calling on Waltham Forest’s residents to end the Big Six Energy Fix

The past few days of bitterly cold temperatures, and the forecast of more to come, serve as a reminder that our borough has a long way to go before its residents can confidently weather anything the British winter throws at them without breaking the bank.

Caroline Allen, the Green Party GLA candidate for North East London, is calling for Waltham Forest residents to sign up to a new campaign for affordable energy to help tackle the serious issue of fuel poverty. The campaign, called ‘End the Big 6 Energy Fix’ is calling on the government to impose a levy on the UK’s six largest energy suppliers, with funds raised ring-fenced to help people with their energy costs, prioritizing those living in fuel poverty, by making homes more energy efficient.

In the UK, fuel poverty is said to occur when a household needs to spend more than 10% of its income in order to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth. In Waltham Forest, over 8000 homes (nearly 10% of the total) are officially in fuel poverty. The average annual household bill for gas and electric has risen from approximately £500 in 2006, to over £1200 in 2011, whilst USwitch has predicted that by 2020 this could rise to a massive £3202.

Many older people here live in cold homes, scared to turn up their heating because of the additional costs. Families with small children too, are having to choose between spending their income on heating their homes or feeding their families.

Caroline Allen said: “5.5 million homes are in fuel poverty in the UK, and it is estimated that around 2,700 people will die this winter as a direct result of being ‘fuel poor’, this is a shocking figure.”

Caroline added:

“There are other measures that Waltham Forest Council could be taking to tackle this issue. It is a scandal is that we have failed to properly insulate so many properties; people’s money is literally disappearing out of their windows and roofs. Green councillors have shown that insulation schemes save money and create local jobs.”

You can sign the petition online here:
(http://action.compassonline.org.uk/page/s/end-the-big-six-energy-fix)

2nd February 2012

Greens support Robin Hood Tax

A new school, 674 bobbies or 122 hybrid buses: Boris’ opposition to Robin Hood tax is costing Waltham Forest dearly, says Green candidate Caroline Allen.

Boris Johnson’s opposition to a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ is depriving local people in the North East constituency of money that could pay for hundreds of new police officers, revitalise local transport, build new schools or fund thousands of apprenticeships, according to figures released by the Green Party today.

The analysis shows that Waltham Forest would receive £36m a year if a Financial Transaction Tax was introduced. That sum could:

Caroline Allen, the Green Party’s candidate for the North East constituency said: “North East London has been hit hard by the cuts, its young people and those on low incomes are being affected the most. Its astonishing to see that this simple measure could allow us to offer thousands of apprenticeships to unemployed young people, an investment in the future.”

The tax - which would raise £10 billion a year nationally with a mere 0.05% tax on financial transactions - is expected to be introduced in other EU-countries (except Sweden) by the end of this year.

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, announced this week plans to introduce a tax on financial transactions in France. The 0.1% - double the Green parties proposed 0.05% - tax will be introduced in August regardless of whether other EU countries agree to do the same.

Boris Johnson has consistently expressed his opposition to the tax, choosing instead to defend the interests of the City. During his time in office he has met with bankers three times as often as police. More than half the funding for his last election campaign came from hedge funds. Hedge funds, financiers and private equity make up 27% of Conservative Party funding as a whole.

Caroline said: “Schools and GPs are severely stretched in Waltham Forest, investment is needed and yet we're told there is no money. There is only no money because the richest aren't paying their way.”

“With child poverty figures at 31% in Waltham Forest surely no one living in these boroughs can object to the very richest corporations paying towards better housing, schooling and transport.”

Green Party Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones said: “Inequality in London is growing with the economic crisis being used as a poor excuse.

“The Robin Hood Tax is a simple measure that would help ensure our city’s richest institutions make a more equitable contribution towards the recovery without scratching the surface of their massive profits.

“The Mayor of London has played a very prominent role in trying to prevent a Robin Hood Tax being implemented. However the tide is turning in this debate and I believe Londoners want a Mayor who is aiming to spread the wealth generated by the financial sector, rather than keeping it all in the hands of a tiny minority in the capital.”

26th January 2012

Green Vet Attacks Dangerous Dogs Act

The problem of anti-social behaviour with dogs in London and beyond is serious one. Last weekend’s mauling in Chingford of a six-year-old girl is the latest example of the very high human cost of this issue. In London alone 450 people were treated in hospital for dogs bites in a 10month period in 2010-2011. There are also many dogs suffering in London because they are not being cared for properly, either through ignorance or deliberate mistreatment, including being used for fighting. The financial cost is very high, the Met Police spent 2million pounds on kennelling dangerous dogs in 2010. Add to that the costs on charities and local authorities and it is clear we are looking at a very distressing and expensive problem.

Unfortunately the ill thought out legislation, the Dangerous Dogs Act, has been a complete failure. The problem is now far worse than when the legislation was passed. While there have been small scale projects which have demonstrated some success, such as Brent’s BARK project, there is no cross- London plan and no leadership from the London Mayor on this issue.

Legislation is slowly passing through parliament that will hopefully replace the dangerous Dog Act with a Dog Control Bill, which would go some way towards improving the situation. However, there is more than can be done at a London level, the Green Party have produced an ‘Action Plan for Animals’ (http://www.jennyforlondon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Action_plan_for_animals.pdf) which lays out our policies in this area, sharing best practice across boroughs, expanding education programmes and microchipping of dogs (which we believe should be compulsory) and working with housing providers to ensure that irresponsible pet ownership and breeding is dealt with. These are just some steps which would surely pay dividends in reducing not only the terrible injury toll but also the financial and welfare cost of this growing problem.

Caroline Allen

Green Party GLA Candidate for Waltham Forest

23rd January 2012

Green candidate comments on Walthamstow Stadium

Its time to move on from the debate about whether the dog track should be developed or returned to racing; greyhound racing's days are over in Waltham Forest and numbered elsewhere as the sport falls out of favour.

This should be considered as a great thing for animal welfare, too many dogs in London are killed due to lack of a home, thousand every year and adding retired or injured greyhounds to this number is hardly going to help, add in the innate dangers of racing itself and its clearly time to move on.

It should also be considered a great opportunity for Waltham Forest, however the council has to be firm with the developers and ensure that the development offers what Waltham Forest needs. This means there must be genuine social housing, available to rent at affordable rents for those in housing need. It means family homes as well as flats and the council must ensure provision of adequate services for the residents; such as schooling, GPs and leisure facilities. There are things to be commended in the plans, the provision of food growing space for example and green corridors, however it is clear that this could be a missed opportunity.

Waltham Forest has an unfortunate history of areas lying undeveloped and deteriorating, while people bicker and row, we should not let this happen to the stadium. Its time to move forward in a positive way, by putting pressure on developers to ensure that the new development meets the needs of Waltham Forest's residents and accepting that the days of greyhound racing are over and that is for the best.

Caroline Allen

Green Party GLA Candidate for Waltham Forest

18th January 2012

Havering and Redbridge Greens Launch REconomy Campaign

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Haroon Saad and Jenny Jones

The REconomy Campaign: tackling the unequal and unsustainable economy created by Tories and Labour...
Londoners deserve a better deal!

Boris Johnson’s last mayoral campaign was largely funded by hedge funds. These are the people who have made millions if not billions through creating a casino economy that has resulted in huge inequalities at the expense of everyday Londoners.

In launching the REconomy Campaign, Haroon Saad said:
“Labour, Tories, Lib Dems, all have economic policies that have resulted in growing inequalities within London. Their policies have created a global world class city that actually has created greater insecurity, growing poverty, and totally unacceptable levels of income inequality. Over 1million people in London now live in low–income families. These are families where at least one adult is working. This is an increase of 60% over the past decade. 1 in 7 jobs in London is paid less than the London Living Wage. 50% of these jobs are held by women.

In outer London the situation is worse. 50% of under 25 year olds are paid less than the London Living Wage. Redbridge has a child poverty rate of 25% and Havering one of 17%.

The poorest 30% of Londoners have less than 5% of financial and property wealth. In contrast, the richest 10% of Londoners have 40% of income wealth, 45% of property wealth and 65% of financial wealth. A vote for Boris is a vote for greater inequality.”

Mayoral Candidate Jenny Jones said:
“Labour, Tories and the Lib Dems have all supported huge amounts of public money being spent to private banks. They said that without this huge injection of public money businesses would not be able to secure vital credit. In fact the banks have simply used our money to pay their own debts and continue to pay outrageous bonuses to themselves.

Because big banks have dismantled local business branches, they are no longer set-up to lend to small businesses. The City is focused on casino banking rather than useful business lending and Assembly members and the Mayor must use their positions to change this.”

Jenny added: “Haroon is a knowledgeable and passionate campaigner who can help protect the rights of London’s small businesses. His work at the Local Urban Development Network means that he is also in a fantastic position to make sure his constituency gets what they need from their Assembly member.”

16th January 2012

Waltham Forest Greens Press Council for 10:1 Pay Ratio

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RoseMary Warrington and Caroline Allen

Caroline Allen, Green GLA Candidate for North East Constituency, has demanded 10:1 and the London Living Wage for all council workers

Waltham Forest Green Party is pushing for Waltham Forest Council and their contractors to lead by example and ensure they are paying fair wages, both by ensuring all workers are being paid the London Living Wage and also by setting a maximum 1 in 10 pay ratio between the lowest and highest paid staff.

Currently the Chief Executive of Waltham Forest Council earns £180,000 per annum, while the lowest-paid staff earn just under £14,700. The Chief Executive’s pay is over 12 times that of the lowest-paid staff. Despite promises to reduce the Chief Executive’s pay in 2011/2012 by 10% and to freeze the pay of all other council staff, the payscales posted on the council’s own website do not corroborate this evidence.

Caroline Allen, the Green Party candidate for Waltham Forest in next year's London Assembly elections said:

“It is a scandal that there are many people in work and yet still in poverty because their wages are too low and don’t reflect the high cost of living in London.”

The Living Wage Unit was set up at City Hall following a budget amendment by the Green Party's Assembly members, an example of how having Green representatives in London really improves the lives of Londoners in a concrete way.

Caroline added:

“Evidence shows that more equal societies are generally happier and healthier with less violent crime. In the current economic climate it can’t be right that Waltham Forest has 2 staff members being paid more than £150,000 and has a ratio of 11 times between the highest and lowest paid'. We hope that Waltham Forest Council will follow the example set by Islington in taking up these policies and working to extend them to privately owned businesses, it is vital these positive messages spread beyond the Town Hall to have maximum impact.”

15th January 2012

Green candidate on child poverty in Waltham Forest

This week child poverty figures were released which showed nearly a third of children in Waltham Forest are growing up in poverty; the figure of 31% being 10% higher than the national average of 21% . These figures are shocking, but sadly are not a surprise. What may surprise people is that nearly 60% of children living in poverty have at least one parent who works.

I believe it is now harder to get out of poverty than it has been at any time in recent history. These figures are surely conclusive evidence that the idea of wealth dripping down to the capital’s poorest is a damaging and nonsensical idea.

There are things that can be done, Greens on London were instrumental in bringing about the London Living Wage and promoting 1 in 10 pay ratios to improve equality, these policies must be spread more widely. Cuts aren’t going to solve this, in fact it is likely it will end up costing us more to clear up the mess, with the human cost left unaccounted for. Greens support a financial transaction tax and changes to ensure tax cannot be avoided. Those who can most afford it are simply not paying their way in society, leading to severe inequality and worsening poverty.

Caroline Allen

Green Party GLA Candidate for Waltham Forest

Published and promoted by Mark Dawes on behalf of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, both at 53 Scarborough Road, London E11 4AL