Focus on community to reduce inequality

Matt and Naomi talking to a residentThe Green Party believes that wellbeing and Quality of Life (rather than economic growth) should be the focus of policy at all levels. A large amount of wealth is generated in Cambridge but it does not benefit everyone, driving inequality both nationally and at the local scale. Even within Cambridge there is a wide gap between the most and least well-off wards in terms of factors like life expectancy and rates of childhood obesity. 

Further economic growth is not the answer. Contemporary Cambridge has experienced very fast growth in housing supply but this hasn’t made homes any more affordable, with the average house price now exceeding half a million pounds. Too many people are living under the stress of insecure housing. Rough sleeping is the most visible but not the only form of homelessness. Young people in particular may be trapped in expensive and unsuitable rented accommodation or slip into ‘hidden homelessness’ such as sofa surfing. As a result of national policy, the provision of ‘affordable housing’ is woefully inadequate, both in terms of what proportion of housing is allocated as ‘affordable’ and whether it is actually affordable for the majority of people. We need a large increase in council-owned and managed secure rented property backed up by community ownership cooperatives, housing associations and co-housing projects.

The COVID-19 pandemic has widened pre-existing gaps in our society, but has also shone a light on the incredible resilience of local groups and organisations to support one another in a time of need.

Green Councillors will:

  • Explore alternative housing delivery options to provide safe, affordable, sociable and sustainable living space for young people and other economically vulnerable groups
  • Take every opportunity to support the work of Cambridge's Food Hubs, Cambridge Community Kitchen and other organisations helping people who are experiencing food and fuel poverty 
  • Review the community hubs and other organisations that developed during the Covid pandemic and ensure that those who still need it have adequate support
  • Lobby for increased investment in youth groups and centres, outdoor sports infrastructure and recreation for older people to help them stay healthy for longer
  • Work to rekindle Cambridge's Neighbourhood Watch and Speed Watch schemes so that residents need no longer feel powerless to act against anti-social behaviour.
  • Ensure there is adequate space for children in all wards of Cambridge to study in safe, supervised buildings (such as a library, community hub or out-of-hours access to school rooms) close to their own home. Going to one of Cambridge’s many good schools is no guarantee of a child’s ability to improve their life chances if the complications of accessing help at home are considered.

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