Turn to us for ‘common good’ - says Green Sheffield Hallam candidate Peter Garbutt

Sheffield Hallam Green Party Candidate Peter Garbutt with Green Party Leader Natalie Bennet outside Town Hall

Sheffield Hallam Green Party Candidate Peter Garbutt with Green Party Leader Natalie Bennet outside Town Hall

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The Green Party’s popularity is growing, writes Peter Garbutt, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam.

In one year membership has risen from 13,000 to 52,000, more than the Lib Dems or UKIP.

Our national poll ratings have jumped from two per cent to eight per cent, equal with the Liberal Democrats.

It’s time to vote for a party that puts people first.

Our increased presence in Parliament, alongside parties like the SNP and Plaid Cymru, will give us a greater say in how the next government is run.

We represent a change of system, not just a change in who runs the system. Greens will represent the people who elect them to Parliament, rather than the multinational companies that successive Governments have served.

Austerity is a choice we reject. Instead we’ll stimulate the economy by investing in properly insulating housing and in renewable energy. This would reduce household energy bills and help us meet carbon reduction targets needed to tackle climate change. This could create up to 1 million jobs and tap into Sheffield’s engineering skills and capacity.

Public services should be publicly accountable and not contracted out for private profit. We’ll protect the NHS and put an extra £12 billion into it. We’ll bring the railways back into public ownership and ensure local councils have control over bus routes and fares.

We’ll raise the minimum wage immediately to the living wage, £7.65; and to £10 by 2020. We’ll ban zero-hours contracts. We’ll pay a guaranteed basic income to everyone to eliminate unemployment and poverty traps while acting as a safety net.

We’ll bring all schools back under local authority control, and get rid of damaging targets and performance related pay. We’ll restore Educational Maintenance Allowance for all 16 and 17 year-olds and scrap university tuition fees.

Our fully costed manifesto will be published in March.

Our program will be paid for by a Wealth Tax of up to 2 per cent on the richest 1 per cent, closing tax loopholes and tackling tax evasion (such as the recently publicised scandal involving the Swiss arm of the HSBC bank), raising the top rate of tax to 60% ,and introducing a “Robin Hood” tax on large financial transactions, amongst other measures.

We’ll save £100 billion by scrapping redundant Trident Nuclear missiles.

Funds saved from cancelling HS2 and the £15 billion roads program would be put into into cutting rail fares and improving public transport instead.

The Green Party offers a different vision, a vision of hope for a future where we can begin to take back control of our lives.

It’s a future that isn’t ruled by companies and competition, but shared in communities with co-operation.

That’s why so many people are turning to us, the Green Party. For the common good.

-The Star is hosting an exclusive election debate with the candidates for Sheffield Hallam in the run-up to the general election.

Send your readers’ questions to ellen.beardmore@thestar.co.uk

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Turn to us for common good says green Sheffield Hallam candidate Peter Garbutt