CAMDEN BUDGET: Where's the strategy to tackle climate change?
Camden Council set its budget this week, making many important decisions as to how to spend our money over the next year. Green Party councillors are concerned about the absence of a strategy to tackle climate change, create green jobs and ensure lower en
Camden Council set its budget this week, making many important decisions as to how to spend our money over the next year.
Green Party councillors are concerned about the absence of a strategy to tackle climate change, create green jobs and ensure lower energy costs for residents in the future at the same time. This is a missed opportunity for a "Green New Deal" at a local level.
As a key part of a Green New Deal, Green Party councillors put forward a proposal to begin insulating hard to insulate homes.
This involved using some money from the "Recovery Fund" which has been set aside as well as borrowing cheaply, which councils can do, and raising money from energy companies, which they must provide, to create a �3million fund.
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This would allow residents to borrow to refurbish their homes to high energy standards at low interest rates and give low income households access to grants for cost-effective measures like good draught proofing.
Combined with skills training and proactive action by officers to find a series of homes which could be dealt with together, this would lay the foundation for a larger programme in the future.
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These plans follow an extremely successful scheme led by Green Party councillors in Kirklees where the local council is providing free insulation to homes and working their way through every single street.
Such a council-led programme reduces the costs of that work and the results are lower fuel bills, reduced emissions and new jobs. In this way, we will ensure that we have homes that do not contribute to climate change and are fit for a future where fuel costs are much higher.
The Lib Dem/Tory administration put some money last year towards the easy-to-insulate homes which are only 9,000 of our 100,000 or so homes in Camden.
They recognise that it is important to do something about our other homes but are yet to put forward a concrete solution.
But we have little time to deal with climate change and the need for jobs will be this year and the next. Our scheme would have allowed the council to begin this process this year.
The Greens also proposed measures essential for Camden to be a fair and decent society.
This included a sum of �1million to ensure that employees of Camden's contractors receive at least the London Living Wage so that they don't have to live on poverty wages. This would also bolster the local economies in which the low-paid live.
We also asked for some modest sums of money for innovative intergenerational and youth services; funding for social cohesion workers for strengthening services in our poorest areas. To support our high streets, we also asked for money to keep post offices going.
Through modest sums of money, we can collectively make real progress on jobs and climate change while improving life for the most vulnerable and safeguarding our high streets.
Cllr Maya de Souza
Leader of the Green Party group