Leeds Green Party

Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas MP visits Leeds

26 March 2012

Caroline Lucas MP, the Leader of the Green Party of England & Wales, was in Yorkshire today lending her support to Green Party local election candidates in both Leeds and Huddersfield.

Arriving by train, Caroline was welcomed at Leeds station by Farnley & Wortley Green Party members including Cllrs Ann and David Blackburn, and taken on a tour of the ward. Cllr David Blackburn and Caroline Lucas meet Wortley residentCaroline was introduced to a Wortley resident whose house had been one of the first to benefit from the free insulation scheme initiated by Green Councillors. The visit to Farnley & Wortley ward concluded with photos with Cllr David Blackburn on the Armley Heights estate. Cllr Blackburn is standing for re-election in that ward on 3rd May.

The second part of Caroline's visit was to a lunchtime meeting at the HEART Centre in Headingley. Caroline addressed members of the public in a passionate speech about the government's false claim about being green, social justice, and the economy.

Criticising the government's green credentials Caroline raised the issue of cutting Feed-in Tariffs paid to households generating electricity through solar panels. The halving of the payment had created uncertainty in an industry that had been creating jobs, and had affected schemes across the country including Leeds where a project to install solar panels on council house roofs was no longer viable. Caroline also pointed out that the recent Budget had commissioned an extra £3 billion pounds into more oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. 

Caroline Lucas at Headingley HEART CentreCaroline went on to speak about social issues, saying that social justice and environmental justice are absolutely linked, and that it is the poorest people who will be hurt the most by changes that are taking place. The Green Party believed in fighting for good public services that are in public hands, she said, and given that the Liberal Democrats supported the government, and Labour introduced measures like PFIs, the Green Party were in a unique position over its support for the NHS and fighting privatisation. Greens campaign to put people's lives before company profits whether it be supporting vibrant local high streets, good affordable housing, good affordable public transport, health and education.

Finishing on the economy, Caroline criticised the austerity measures of the government, including the cutting of 500,000 public sectors jobs and the ludicrous hope that the private sector would somehow create enough jobs to replace them. She added that the key issue is unemployment, particularly amongst the young, and to tackle the deficit we must be getting people in work which raises tax revenues and reduces the benefits paid out. Caroline went on to say that there was a real synergy between green policies and economic policies, as one of the fastest ways of creating employment would be through programmes like insulation schemes which would provide jobs, lower our emissions, and reduce fuel poverty. Chris Foren and Caroline Lucas

Following a question and answer session with members of the public, Caroline was photographed with the Headingley ward candidate Chris Foren,  the candidate for Beeston & Holbeck, David Smith, and several other supporters. It was then time to depart for the station and a train to Huddersfield to meet our Green colleagues in Kirklees, spending time with Councillors and Parish Councillors at various projects in the region. Caroline then continued her busy work as a Member of Parliament, heading back to London for evening votes in the House of Commons.

Leeds Green Party are very grateful to Caroline for taking time out of her busy schedule to visit Leeds and see what work Green Councillors and members are doing to help make Leeds a better and fairer place to live.

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