Letter to the Sheffield Star

In his Autumn statement, Jeremy Hunt has taken £30bn away from people during a cost of living crisis–both directly and through cuts in services. There is enough wealth in this country for us to avoid the dire economic situation this Conservative government is forcing us into. The problem is that wealth is concentrated in too few hands when it should be spread throughout the economy to the benefit of everybody. The Green Party demand a 1% wealth tax on the super-rich and increases in taxes on unearned income to ensure there is sufficient money to fund the public services we deserve.

I welcome the government’s belated recognition of the importance of home insulation in getting people’s fuel bills down and reducing emissions – but where’s the urgency? We need street-by-street action now to make homes more energy efficient, reduce our demand for gas and reduce our bills and emissions.

Yours faithfully

Bev Bennett

Nether Edge and Sharrow Green Party

Cllrs Marieanne Elliot and Angela Argenzio
Cllrs Marieanne Elliot and Angela Argenzio

In the first Full Council meeting under the new Committee system, three proposals from the Green Party group of 14 Councillors were accepted.

The Greens’ Deputy Leader, Councillor Angela Argenzio, put forward the proposals in a motion titled, “Working together to deliver a better future for Sheffield”. The first initiative she proposed was to develop a Cost of Living Crisis Action Plan within 4 months, saying,

“Rising costs for food and fuel are not being matched by rising incomes and the poorest are suffering disproportionately because more of their income is spent on the essentials of life. Though many of the policy solutions to the current crisis are the responsibility of national government, that does not mean that we should do nothing locally. That is why we called for a Cost of Living Crisis Action Plan so the Council can lead, along with our other public and voluntary sector partners, in agreeing effective action at a local level to address this crisis.”

The second initiative Cllr Angela Argenzio proposed was to be the first Council in the country to introduce a Corporate Opportunities Register.

“All Councils are required to have a Corporate Risk Register, where senior officers of the Councils demonstrate that we are properly prepared for things like changes in legislation that impact on the Council, emergency situations, things like cyber attacks and natural disasters. What we don’t have is a Corporate Opportunities Register where our senior officers report on new funding streams from Government and other sources to help us achieve the council’s objectives and on partnerships we can develop with the private and voluntary sectors to help us to work together effectively. We have a structured approach to dealing with risk and we need one to identify the opportunities we can take.”

The third area the Greens identified was the need to improve the service that people receive from Sheffield City Council,

Councillor Marieanne Elliot, newly elected Green Councillor for Gleadless Valley, seconded the motion in her maiden speech saying,

“Many people are unable to access the council’s online and phone services. There are numerous reasons for this and we need to take responsibility for removing the barriers.

I’m pleased that our proposals for a Customer Services Action Plan were supported, and hope that we can improve accessibility to services for everyone.”