It is an exciting time for the Green Party of England and Wales. This year’s local elections are a crucial step for the Greens as we look to not only defend hundreds of seats across the country but continue our unprecedented growth, breaking through on to new councils and gaining control of councils where we already have representation.
Over the last few years, we have seen Green councillors elected in record numbers, winning seats from Labour and the Conservatives in roughly equal numbers, in rural and urban areas alike.
We know that when Greens are elected people like what they see. That’s why we are fully expecting this growth to continue this year right across the country, be that in places like Lancaster and Lewes where we are already in the administration, or Mid Suffolk where we could gain control of the local authority.
With the cost of living crisis, the climate crisis and more and more people looking for a fresh political voice, it has never been more important to get Greens elected, and our tireless councillors, candidates and campaigners are working non-stop to make that happen.
Looking at recent results, you’ll see the Greens are the party on the up – last year we won more new seats than Labour in England and achieved the highest percentage increase in seats of any party in England and Wales.
This year, we will be defending more seats than ever before but we don’t just expect to successfully defend these; we fully see ourselves gaining even more.
The Green Party is well represented all across the country, with 563 Greens on 172 councils in England and Wales. This year’s local elections will see a record number of Green candidates standing in 97% of councils with elections and we fully expect to gain around 100 new councillors, maybe more.
We also expect to see the number of councils where we are in administration increase from the current 18, potentially gaining up to ten more, ensuring that more people than ever are able to be represented by people making decisions on a daily business to improve people’s lives and make sure the environment is prioritised in everything we do.
Importantly, we also expect to see the numbers of councils where Greens are the official opposition increase from its current number of 10 to around 20, making sure that we hold those in power to account and ensure that Green voices are heard loud and clear during all decision making processes.
Why are we so confident? Because Greens do things differently, and people know it.
At the Green Party, we are focused on the things that matter to people most. That’s why at our local election launch in Mid Suffolk, we were proud to announce our new plan for housing: the Right Homes, Right Place, Right Price Charter. This plan would simultaneously protect valuable green space for communities, reduce climate emissions, tackle fuel poverty and provide genuinely affordable housing.
People in many parts of the country are facing the same problem – they are unable to find suitable places to live because speculators and developers are allowed to chase the biggest profits and ignore local needs and the environment when building news homes.
Too many villages and towns have seen large-scale developments take place without the community infrastructure expanded alongside, such as GP surgeries, bus services, cycling and walking networks and nurseries and schools.
We need the right homes, in the right place for the right price – we want councillors and national government to work together to deliver the homes people need and can afford to rent and buy, where people need them.
We also know that there is a generation of people who are trapped in the private rental market by spiralling rents that have no relationship to incomes.
To address this, in the short term, we would introduce an immediate rent freeze and eviction ban to stop people being made homeless in the middle of this cost of living crisis – just as the Scottish Greens have already done as part of the Scottish Government.
In the longer term, we want councils to have the power to bring in rent controls in areas where the housing market is overheated. We would place much stricter controls on the type of new homes being built to include more affordable and social housing for buying and renting.
Everyone deserves a place that they can call home, and our Right Homes, Right Place, Right Price Charter is just one example of the pragmatic approach that Greens take to politics – putting people and planet first. On 4th May, a vote for Green candidates at all levels of local government will help elect hard-working councillors committed to creating fairer, greener communities all over the country.