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Elections 2022: How would parties vying for seats on Cambridge City Council tackle inequality in the city?





What will parties vying for seats on Cambridge City Council do to tackle inequality?

Cambridge has previously been named the country’s most unequal city and tackling the problem has been identified as a priority by a number of parties.

Sixteen of the council’s 42 seats are up for election on Thursday, May 5.

Labour currently has a majority with 25 councillors, while the Liberal Democrats have 12 councillors and the Green Party has two.

Here is what the parties’ manifestos say about tackling inequality.

Green Party

The Green Party has said there should be more focus on community wellbeing and quality of life.

In the group’s manifesto it said: “Further economic growth is not the answer. Contemporary Cambridge has experienced very fast growth in housing supply, but this has not made homes any more affordable, with the average house price now exceeding half-a-million-pounds.

“Too many 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.”

The party continued that is a result of national policy that the supply of affordable housing is “woefully inadequate”, arguing this is both in terms of the amount designated as affordable, and whether it is “actually affordable” for many people.

The group set out a number of commitments, including looking at different options to provide “safe, affordable, sociable, and sustainable homes”; lobby for more investment in youth groups and centres; and making sure there is “adequate” space for children across the city to study in safe, supervised buildings close to their homes.

Labour

Labour’s manifesto is launched. From left, deputy leader Cllr Alex Collis, MP Daniel Zeichner, and council leader Cllr Anna Smith. Picture: Keith Heppell
Labour’s manifesto is launched. From left, deputy leader Cllr Alex Collis, MP Daniel Zeichner, and council leader Cllr Anna Smith. Picture: Keith Heppell

One of the Labour group’s four main pledges for this year’s local elections is to tackle poverty and inequality, and promote food and fuel justice.

In the party’s manifesto it said: “The cost of living crisis is already having a serious impact on residents’ lives, meaning that many are having to make the choice between heating and eating.

“Labour will continue to fight for food and fuel justice, further strengthen our anti-poverty work and continue our generous community grants scheme and invest in high quality community facilities for all.”

The party also set out a number of commitments, which include finding a new home for the community food centre, helping to establish it and a network of food hubs as a “long term, key pillar of the city’s food justice work”.

The group also said it will keep campaigning for everyone in Cambridge to earn at least the Real Living Wage, and has said it will invest in new community facilities across the city.

Liberal Democrats

Cllr Tim Bick is leader of the Lib Dem opposition on Cambridge City Council
Cllr Tim Bick is leader of the Lib Dem opposition on Cambridge City Council

The Liberal Democrat group has said it would establish a city-wide community wellbeing strategy to address “all forms of disadvantage”.

The group said this strategy would consider a broad range of factors that contribute to people’s “overall sense of happiness”, adding that it would be supported by a periodic wellbeing survey to monitor the factors of safety, health, sense of purpose and connection in communities.

In the party’s manifesto it said: “The pandemic has exposed deep disadvantage within our communities – health, educational, social, occupational, and economic – much wider than Labour’s focus on poverty alone.

“We will work for sustainable change wherever the city council has real influence, to build conditions for fairer life chances, with and through residents, building on the strong community spirit that developed during the pandemic.

“And we will ensure that as the city grows, new developments bring with them the amenities they need for a strong and healthy community life.

“We will support this with a new community wellbeing framework across all the council’s activities and we will explore ways of measuring it to drive progress.”

Conservatives

The Cambridge City Conservatives did not respond when the party’s manifesto was requested.

But you can read their answers on key subjects in our election Q&A with the parties, in which the Conservatives told us: “We’ll keep council tax low and support people with the cost of living. We will be accountable to you and will always respect that it is your, the taxpayers’, money that is being spent and will make your money count for residents of Cambridge.”

Independents

Two independent candidates are standing for election.

They told us about their priorities.

Jason Scott-Warren is an independent candidate for West Chesterton.

He says: “I’ll be an independent voice for West Chesterton, free to challenge proposals with the interests of locals in mind. My aim is to join the dots between a depleted environment and social inequality, calling for a radical revision of our priorities in the light of the climate crisis.”

Monica Hone is an independent candidate for Coleridge, standing

She says: “We need to declare a water emergency. We are installing more and more taps while more and more sewage is ending up in our river. There is no environmental capacity for further growth.”

Read more from the parties in our election Q&A.

And see a full list of candidates standing for Cambridge City Council here.



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