COUNCIL ELECTIONS: Solihull Greens will focus on strengthening mandate in opposition - The Solihull Observer

COUNCIL ELECTIONS: Solihull Greens will focus on strengthening mandate in opposition

Solihull Editorial 26th Apr, 2018   0

THE OFFICIAL Green Party opposition will run for re-election with a guarantee to continue to hold Solihull Council to account.

The party will hope to improve on their total of 10 councillors as the borough goes to the polls on May 3.

It conceded the controlling Conservatives will likely gain another significant majority at the elections but have promised to scrutinise the council at every opportunity to prevent damaging cuts and improve services.

Among the Greens’ pledges is a push to reverse cuts they say have caused rises in crime, potholes and adult social care being reduced to a bare minimum.

Its primary agenda will be to tackle inequality. It says Solihull is economically successful but the gap in life expectancy between the wealthiest and poorest areas of the borough requires urgent action.

It has also promised to protect the green belt and oppose the disproportionate loss of the borough’s green spaces.

But the party will also promote affordable housing in the right places – its says young people are being priced out by the council’s deference to developers.

The voluntary sector would also get a boost, the Greens say, with cuts harming the services it has been able to provide.

Its manifesto also states it will pay council staff a ‘real living wage’ – a promise it has made previously.

Chelmsley Wood councillor, Chris Williams, said: “Our councillors’ job as the largest opposition group will be to hold Solihull council to account.

“We will provide constructive opposition and scrutiny of the council’s decisions on its services and how it spends money raised from council tax payers.

“We will speak out against inappropriate cuts, which are now cutting deep.

“Green councillors will put pressure on the council for more sensible decision making.

“We are opposing excessive loss of green land around Shirley in the Conservatives’ Local Plan for house building.

“Too much land is being given to developers to build executive homes, while young people in Solihull are being priced out of the area due to the lack of affordable housing and lack of new social housing. We want to change this.

“We would support our local schools. Solihull teachers tell us the government’s cuts are hurting, yet local Conservatives won’t make representation to their government.

“Sensible and constructive Green Party voices will hold the council to account and ensure it’s more likely to be run well.”

The Greens drew criticism from Labour in a campaign poster this week which claimed their members have ‘no real connection with the area’ and stands failed candidates from other local authorities.

Coun Williams said: “Labour have done negative leaflets in previous elections across Solihull like this one but they have been ineffective as people find personal attacks distasteful and instead drive Labour voters to vote for someone else.

“It’s really what you achieve for local people and how you support the community that people care most about.”

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