Green Council Election Manifesto

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FINANCE

• Work with our Green MSP colleagues to introduce a fairer land value tax to replace council tax.

• Explore new forms of raising money for services such as Social Impact Bonds, a hotel visitor levy, extra council tax on empty homes.

• Devolve decisions and budgets to community councils and neighbourhood partnerships through “participatory budgeting”. We will commit at least one per cent of the council’s budget to this.

• Create a Voluntary Sector Endowment Fund, by creating income from truly non-essential council assets, to sustain community and voluntary organisations.

• Work to create a living wage.

ECONOMY

• Expand employment through jobs in renewable energy, insulation and recycling and re-fitting programmes.

• Increase the number of apprenticeships in Edinburgh, working with the Scottish Funding Council and local colleges.

• Build on the Green Investment Bank to ensure that Edinburgh becomes a world capital for research in, and manufacture for, renewable energy.

• Boost employment through a council policy of buying local and re-focus business advice on local shops and businesses.

• Create a local currency for Edinburgh to increase local spending and investment.

TRANSPORT

• Oppose the development of Edinburgh Airport.

• Prioritise public transport to increase reliability and reduced journey times and maintain supported bus services.

• Reopen the South Suburban line.

• Make the existing network of walking and cycling routes comprehensive across the city, and invest £10 per head of population in cycling by 2017.

CULTURE/LEISURE/SPORT

• Protect community, leisure and sporting facilities from closure and invest in them to build the social fabric of our communities.

• Protect existing leisure facilities from closure and support the reopening of Leith Waterworld, either as a publicly-owned facility or as a community-owned social enterprise.

• Maintain support for Edinburgh’s festivals and community arts.

• Use local environment budgets to set up more community gardens on spare land and provide courses for growing fruit and vegetables.

EDUCATION/CHILDREN

• Ensure that families who need extra help can find it in local, friendly, welcoming family and children centres.

• Invest more in nursery schools and teachers and extend free nursery education for three and four-year-olds.

• Provide programmes in disadvantaged areas to help parents support their children’s education and provide a positive home learning environment.

• Decentralise more power and budgets to schools and give Parent Councils more influence.

ENVIRONMENT

• Encourage the installation of community-owned renewables and local heat and power schemes, funded through sources such as Green Deal and planning gain. We will work towards new developments using 100 per cent renewable energy, with 20 per cent generated on-site.

• Protect the green belt.

• Set a robust presumption against any further building on the city’s precious green spaces.

• Continue to oppose large-scale biomass incineration.

• Pilot a community rebate to neighbourhood groups which reduce their waste to landfill beyond set targets, paid directly to communities, thus incentivising an increase in recycling.

HEALTH

• Improve health and reduce pollution by investing in public transport, an accessible and safe cycling network, and measures to make walking easier and more enjoyable for all.

• Measure our progress using a comprehensive well-being indicator. This will assess the impact of our policies on quality of life for individuals, communities and the city.

• Support moves to help people personalise their care and so maximise their independence.

• Support local community health projects and community centres that promote healthy, active lifestyles, particularly in disadvantaged areas.

HOUSING

• Tackle fuel poverty through a comprehensive home insulation programme and exploit opportunities to introduce local and renewable energy provision in homes.

• Commit to implementing the national statutory target to house all homeless people by the end of this year.

• Introduce a consistent standard for all temporary accommodation owned or commissioned by the council.

• Enforce planning agreements so that housing developers actually deliver on commitments to provide affordable homes.

• Make cooperative stair partnerships more enforceable.

• Take firm action on private landlords and letting agents who flout the law.

PLANNING

• Establish a fund for communities to challenge developers who persistently seek to re-open Planning Committee decisions.

• Open up Planning Committee meetings to allow community representatives to express views on the decisions that affect their area.

• Integrate planning decisions with transport strategy.

• Encourage land owners to release land for community gardens and allotments.

CRIME

• Work with the courts and police to pursue restorative justice, to help victims recover from crime and rehabilitate offenders, but only with victims’ consent.

• Take a firm stance on organisations or individuals who indulge in homophobia, race hatred or any other form of discrimination.