2019 General Election –

Dear Resident

I would like to introduce myself as your Green Party candidate for Hornchurch & Upminster Constituency.

A local candidate, I’ve lived in Upminster for 55 years, attended The Bell & Coopers Coborn schools, work part time in my small business based in Purfleet and am an author of local walking and travel books. As a member of Upminster Methodist Church I’ve run or helped with youth clubs for more than 30 years.

I’d like to take this opportunity to set out policies on key issues:

Climate Change – Our country faces many issues but the greatest of these is climate change. If we fail to act the consequences for the world, its people and wildlife will be catastrophic. Resources are finite. We must invest in renewable energy, phase out fossil fuels and reduce our need to travel. Public transport has to be affordable and reliable, and measures taken to encourage people to work and shop locally. We must force governments to act not simply pay lip service to saving our planet. Individuals, companies, local authorities and governments can all make a difference and we must all do so.
Housing – It is scandalous that every night in 21st century Britain thousands sleep on the streets. Homelessness is no longer restricted to big cities; we see it in Hornchurch & Upminster. New socially rented homes are needed to allow everyone access to an affordable place to live. We do not need the large houses that make maximum profit for developers, but small homes that our children can afford so they do not have to move away from the area.

Air Quality – Air pollution causes 36,000 premature deaths in the UK every year. Young people are the most vulnerable yet pollution outside some of our local schools is at dangerous levels. We must have cleaner cars and public transport, car free areas and safe routes to walk to schools.

Brexit – The 2016 referendum gave a small majority for leaving the EU, however it is now clear that Brexit will have a considerable negative impact on our economy. The Brexit process was initiated by a referendum so it would not right to simply revoke Article 50. Now that we all have more information a further referendum should be held, to determine how we should leave (deal / no deal), or if the will of the people is now to remain.

High Streets & Local Communities – Our high streets are dying. Whilst the Green Party seeks to encourage use of public transport, cycling and walking, we appreciate that there is a need for some people to be able to drive to our town centres and that increased car parking charges are having a negative impact on our high street traders. High parking charges will result in more people driving longer distance to out of town centres, with a greater environmental impact. The recent local car parking increases should be reversed ensuring that there are reasonable initial free periods.

Green Spaces & Trees – The green spaces in our towns and the Green Belt that surround them are under constant threat. We must continue to resist attempts to build on these spaces which add so much to our locality. New housing should be on brownfield sites. Our trees are vital in helping to limit climate change and a crucial part of the beauty and character of our towns. We should be planting more and unless there is very good reason, keeping all of our beautiful mature trees.

Animal Welfare – We should not be legalising the killing of animals for enjoyment. All forms of fox hunting should be banned and the law enforced. Penalties for animal cruelty should be greater and banning orders properly enforced. Factory farming should be phased out.

Crime & Policing – There is understandably much concern at the spate of street attacks, often on children. Action must be taken but the government’s huge cuts in police numbers are having a real impact. Green Party policy is for greater community involvement with our police service. Too many officers are being diverted to major events in London. We must also look at the causes of crime and be proactive in working to provide role models, youth facilities and to divert those who may be led into offending. Rehabilitation of offenders needs far greater priority.

Fair Votes – We need a fairer electoral system so that the make-up of Parliament more accurately reflects the votes cast; government should be by consensus, not conflict. Our first past the post system stifles democracy – it is ludicrous that the result of the General Election will be decided by only around a hundred marginal seats.

Spending & Taxation – As the world’s 6th richest country we should adequately fund the NHS and education services and accept our moral duty to provide our fair share of targeted aid to those less fortunate in other countries. Immigration must be controlled but Britain’s proud tradition of providing sanctuary to a reasonable number of genuine refugees should be maintained. Taxation should be simple and fair, and based on the principle that those who can afford to contribute more pay a greater share than those who cannot.

Equality – Everyone should be treated equally and fairly and have the same opportunities, regardless of race, colour, religion, sexuality, education and wealth. Someone educated at their local comprehensive should be no less likely to become Prime Minister than an Eton scholar. Everyone should have access to legal aid and being able to afford an expensive lawyer should not increase the chances of being acquitted in court.

The Green Party – Whilst the environment is at the forefront, The Green Party has a broad spectrum of policies, promoting social justice, equality, grassroots democracy and a fairer society. Green councillors across the country have been successful in working closely with local residents and holding councils to account. Often behind the scenes, in Hornchurch, & Upminster constituency we have been actively campaigning on local issues such as air quality, the Lower Thames Crossing and saving our green spaces.

No vote is wasted and every vote for the Green Party tells our government that they must act now to care for the world.
We owe it to our children to put the future of the planet first.

Yours sincerely

Peter Caton