You can read a quick summary of some of my work over the past year here.
As we take this moment to look back over the year just gone, I don’t have to tell you that the challenges we face are huge, and that the Government’s austerity measures have made difficult problems much worse. Many of the constituents I meet at my weekly advice surgeries are facing desperate circumstances, as a result of draconian cuts to benefits, and a failing economy.
Not only that, but trust in the political system itself is at an all-time low. When Russell Brand stated: “Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing to vote for”, he touched a chord which resonated with millions. My letter in the Guardian on the 30 December, setting out the case for major democratic reform, is here.
Among the scandals of 2013, we’ve seen:
- Record numbers of people dependent on food banks – in the seventh largest economy on the planet
- The Bedroom Tax forcing families against each other and dividing communities
- The Government rolling back support for home insulation programmes while fuel poverty is growing, and people face unaffordable energy bills
- Accelerating climate change, met by government inaction and - worse - tax breaks for further fossil fuel exploration and fracking
- The Prime Minister’s once vaunted green aspirations turning into a pledge to “get rid of all the green crap”
- Rising xenophobia whipped up by UKIP and the political Right
When Parliament reconvenes for the 2014 session, here are just some of the issues that I will be focusing on:
- Promoting my Parliamentary Bill to bring the railways back into public hands
- Championing a Public Service Users Act to stop more damaging sell-offs of public services
- Working with more employers to introduce the Living Wage, building on Brighton and Hove’s excellent track record
- Continuing to fight further privatisation and cuts in the NHS and our local hospitals
- Pushing for thoroughgoing democratic reform, and opposing the “Gagging Bill”
- Proposing practical alternatives to the Government’s cruel and counterproductive austerity programme, including a nationwide programme of home insulation and energy efficiency, slashing energy bills, cutting carbon and creating hundreds of thousands of new green jobs
- Scrapping all tuition fees, and proposing a Business Education Tax on the 4% of largest companies to pay for higher education instead
- Standing up for Brighton and Hove’s small businesses, and pushing for a cut in VAT on tourism to invigorate the local economy
- Promoting clean, green alternatives to fracking, and opposing any continuation of the unethical and unscientific badger cull
- Standing firm against the grotesque waste of money represented by replacing Trident nuclear weapons at a cost of £100bn
- Working with women’s organisations in the city in support of legislation to make domestic violence a criminal offence
Please do continue to get in touch, and to raise your issues and concerns with me.
Let me conclude by once again wishing you a happy and healthy 2014, and to pledge to continue standing up for a greener, fairer city for all.
Caroline Lucas MP, Brighton Pavilion