THE Green Party is to stage its autumn conference in Sheffield.
Leader Caroline Lucas announced on a visit to the city on Tuesday that the event will be held on Hallam University’s city centre campus from September 9 to 12.
As Sheffield prepares for the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference, local Greens were relishing the prospect of welcoming 500 delegates from their party to the city.
The event is being organised by Hallam’s Conference 21 in partnership with Sheffield Convention Bureau.
Becky Stanyard, of Conference 21, said: “The Green Party were impressed with our city centre location. Delegates will have access to fantastic modern facilities at Sheffield Hallam and the venue is just opposite the train station which meets the party’s green transport credentials.
“Hosting this event at such an interesting time for British politics is a real feather in the cap for the university and for Conference 21.”
The conference at the Pennine Lecture Theatre will offer local Greens the chance to raise their profile. They currently have two seats on the council and are in a position to influence the balance of power with no party in overall control.
Green councillor Jillian Creasy will see the event held in the central ward she represents alongside Rob Murphy.
She said: “The Green group has brought different thinking to the council over the past seven years, working hard to achieve a good deal for local people, including the ‘Living Wage’ for council workers, which is due to be brought in, and efforts to achieve a city-wide ‘20’s Plenty’ scheme on residential roads.
“There are already strong Green council groups in many towns and cities across Yorkshire and we will be doing all we can to elect more councillors in May.”
Ms Lucas, the Greens’ first elected MP, who represents Brighton Pavilion, was in Sheffield on a national tour ahead of the local elections in May and a few days before she addresses the party’s spring conference in Cardiff.
She met students at the Hallam University students’ union to discuss concerns over the Coalition Government’s increasing of tuition fee rises and the abolition of the Educational Maintenance Allowance.
lThe Green Party is to press the council for a budget that protects the most vulnerable from the worst of Government cuts. They want to prioritise Sure Start children’s centres, Police Community Support Officers and day care centres.
Coun Creasy said: “If the Government had closed tax loopholes, increased tax on the wealthy and bankers’ bonuses, there would be no need for any cuts to public services. As local councillors we can see ways to make this budget more fair and democratic and to protect the vulnerable.”