Green Edinburgh: People, Place and Power

Tell Edinburgh Greens what is important for the 2017 council elections

CouncilCandidates

The Edinburgh branch of the Scottish Green Party is preparing our biggest-ever campaign for the next council elections, which take place in May 2017. We believe that we can at least double our current group of 5 Green councillors.

Those Green councillors are there with a purpose: to listen to the people in their area; to work tirelessly for what is best for those areas; and to make Edinburgh a greener and fairer place.

That is why we want your views on our priorities for Edinburgh City Council. Between now and the end of 2016, we are looking for feedback on what we have identified as important. We are asking for your help. Have we got the issues right? What is missing? What ideas do you have which would make those aims come to life?

This simple document is only the first step to developing our ideas. We will use your feedback to publish a full manifesto in Spring 2017. This will set out exactly why a much bigger group of Green councillors in Edinburgh is such an exciting prospect and what we will deliver if elected.

The deadline for your views was 30 November 2016, but you can can still submit views now for a limited period.  You can do this either by filling out the forms below, or by completing this paper copy and posting it to the address at the bottom of the document.

greatcity

Edinburgh is a great city. And a great city needs a green future. A green future which is:

  • A much more equal city, with the gap between rich and poor reduced, and homelessness ended.
  • A much healthier city, with clean air, clean streets and green space for everyone to enjoy.
  • A green-energy city, ending fuel poverty, powered by renewable energy and ending use of dirty, dangerous oil, gas and nuclear.
  • A better-connected city, with people choosing to use public transport, bikes and walking to get around; and a city which leads the way in “smart” technology.
  • An open city where much more say is handed to individual residents and community groups; and where hurdles that stop people taking part are removed.

Green councillors have fought for green jobs, investment in schools, safe roads, green spaces and community say over decisions. And so much more besides. More Green councillors will stand up for Edinburgh and campaign for what is best for our great city and our shared green future.

community-places

We want to see a city where public space is genuinely public: open and welcoming for all! A city where communities own land and buildings and where areas are managed in a joined-up way. We want green space to be protected and improved in every community: for people and for wildlife.

We also back more money for well-managed services which improve day to day life: streets free of litter and dog-fouling; bin collections which are on time; and well-maintained pavements, cycle-paths and roads.

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Well-Planned Places

As Edinburgh grows, we put people’s need above developers’ greed. Places should be planned so that shops, surgeries, schools and sports facilities, to take just some examples, are within easy reach.

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Well-Connected Places

Getting planning right will reduce the need to travel, but that still leaves a lot of traffic on our streets which causes traffic jams, pollution and makes streets unsafe. So we want to see a steady but real fall in the number of cars, vans and lorries clogging up the city, making streets more attractive and also easier for essential drivers like disabled people or emergency services to get around.

We can do this if Edinburgh redoubles its efforts to create safe and attractive routes for cyclists and walkers and also has public transport which is safe, affordable, frequent and easy to use.

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Living Places

We believe in housing justice: homes should be affordable, easy to keep warm and in well-planned areas. It should be much easier to agree repairs and improvements with neighbours. We also want to see much better use of vacant sites and empty homes. We want to make sure that there is a good balance between different uses like long-term homes, student housing and holiday lets. And we want more homes, not more hotels. We believe the council, along with housing co-ops and housing associations can lead in providing new homes right across the housing market, and we will back new powers to get the land and money needed.

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Working People

We want to see the economy of Edinburgh reap the jobs bonanza of a “Green City Region Deal” which will provide thousands of jobs in energy efficiency projects, repair and new manufacturing. We back small local businesses and flourishing social enterprise above footloose overseas companies. We support City of Edinburgh Council paying a Living Wage (currently £8.25 an hour) and want to encourage many more companies to follow that lead.

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Learning People

We believe that all of Edinburgh’s children and young people deserve schools that are well-maintained, safe and are of the right size and in the right place for decades ahead. We want school staff, parents and pupils to have a greater say in how schools are run, but staying within council ownership to make sure there is a level playing field for all schools. And we want to see children who need a bit of extra help get it, so that they can make their way from nursery to school and on into work, college or university.

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Healthy People

We want to see a healthy city which reduces the pressure on the NHS. We believe this can be done making social care work better: providing decent pay and conditions for care workers; boosting local and voluntary organisations to provide care; and helping people to take more control of their own care. We also want to see a transformation in the local food economy, helping people make healthier choices. We believe access to green space and attractive walking and cycling routes will improve both physical and mental health. We want to see NHS, council and community services work together to provide local health centres where lots of different help is under one roof.

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people-and-free-time

We want to build on Edinburgh’s reputation as a cultural capital by making culture and leisure opportunities more welcoming for everyone in the city. We want to see local facilities like libraries, sports halls and swimming pools protected and improved, working with local people to do so.

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Shared Power

We believe that the council needs to be more open to the ideas and views of its citizens. We want people to be more involved in big decisions like planning and council spending. We want to see voluntary and community bodies own assets, like community buildings, and decide on what happens in their areas. And we want to give people who use services more say over how those services are designed and delivered.

Shared power also builds on the strengths of our 4 universities, Edinburgh College and the city’s high-tech companies so that Edinburgh lead the world in connecting people: to services, to jobs and to each other.

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Equal Power

We are passionate about a more equal Edinburgh, where the city’s wealth is shared more fairly; and where minority groups, of all kinds, are included. We will always stand firm against all forms of discrimination and want our Council and other bodies to become truly representative of the different communities they serve.

We want Edinburgh to make a fresh start in tackling poverty across the board – from birth to old age. That means action like: increasing the amount and reducing the cost of child-care; using council contracts to promote work and training for young people; making sure people get the benefits they should be getting; and ending homelessness.

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Twenty-first Century Power

We want Scotland’s capital to catch up with other international cities in the way it deals with energy. We want to see the council’s own energy company take off, alongside community organisations, making existing buildings more energy efficient and creating jobs in building and fitting renewable energy equipment like solar panels and wind turbines. We want the city’s massive financial sector and pension funds to look for positive alternatives to investing in dirty fossil fuels.

We also want to transform the way the city deals with rubbish, with a far greater focus on repair, re-use and recycling, which would reduce pressure on bin services.

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Funding Power

We believe in a grown-up council taking more responsibility for how the city works. Green councillors and MSPs have called for Edinburgh to have the same powers as almost every other city in Europe. This means being able to raise money like a tourist tax, a tax on private car-parking for company staff or a charge on supermarkets. With those powers come equal responsibilities: to listen more; to become more accessible; and to deliver good quality services!

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What else should we consider?

These are just some themes we have developed. Let us know your views by 30 November 2016! If there is anything else we should be considering please let us know that too.

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