Election 2015: Green Party candidate for St Albans Jack Easton
- Credit: Archant
Global climate change is a reality which has to be tackled at both local and national levels, the Green Party candidate for St Albans, Jack Easton, has reiterated.
He said: “Unsustainable consumption is a major issue; we have to face up to population growth in a non-corrosive way.”
According to NASA, 97 per cent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most leading scientific organisations worldwide have endorsed that position.
Jack advocates people taking more action to do their bit to help the planet, rather than waiting for climate change to reach the point where “food is becoming scarcer and more expensive.
“If you reduce your energy use and insulate like crazy - that is cheap, and you don’t have to buy your energy if you build your houses to a certain standard.”
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Jack believes the district council should be helped to construct additional council homes.
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He said: “It doesn’t help to give away the family jewels with the right to buy scheme. We need to seek out empty and brownfield sites, and build social housing for those who can’t afford to buy.
“The money that gets spent on such accommodation would then stay in the public purse, rather than go to Premier Inn hotel in St Peter’s Street, which is being paid by the district council to house the homeless along with landlords in the private sector, who are receiving funding from housing benefits.”
“Give the local authority more money for homeless people,” said Jack, adding, “homelessness is a stain on us all and a stain on us as a society. We see a higher funding commitment being given to local authorities as a necessity so they can meet their social duties.”
Green Belt expansion
Labelled the Green Belt as ‘precious’, because it provides land for farming and our water needs, Jack said, “it is also important for the leisure and wellbeing of everybody - we all need access to the countryside within walking or cycling distance.
“We have to build to a greater density, once the brownfield sites have been built out.”
Jack said: “Our policy is to bring the railway back into national ownership. That should release additional funding into the system, because there is no profit motive, and no contracting between many parties.
“We would plan to reduce fares, and we would like to see efforts to integrate the transport system so that people can get to the station more easily by bus.”
Truth and integrity in public life
Jack believes the Lobbying Act is “very awkward as it stops the voluntary sector, the non-governmental organisations from speaking out”.
When it comes to voting, Jack support proportional representation, so “you less entrench the sitting candidate who doesn’t have to work for their vote because they are entrenched in that particular population”.
Jack said: “Our schools policy is to bring them back under local democratic control. If the [county council] sees a need, then funding should be there.
“The council would be free to judge whether it needs to build a new school or use the money on existing provision.
“But it should not be for collections of parents to fight to create their own school semi-outside the local system.”