Galaxy Radio invited Green Party Mayoral Candidate Siân Berry into the studio to discuss her policies for London. Siân is a warm and charming person with a strong vision for London as you will hear in the audio of the interview below. Her vision is small business and people centred.
For Siân , housing is the biggest issue facing Londoners. She says “People in London just need homes to live in.” Her solution to the housing crisis is not to sell public land to large developers and “probably not [get] a very good deal,” but to keep it in the public domain and create a land trust. She explained that her alternative approach would create a “new market” for small developers, co-operatives and social housing. Sian said that this brought some distinct advantages. For example, because the land remains in the public domain, it would be a modest but long-term source of rental income. Also, construction and release to the market would be quicker because small developers have no interest in holding properties for investment. For renters, a land trust has the added attraction of providing affordable homes with a security of tenure. Siân’s plan moves the ideology of housing back to the need for homes and not as investment commodities.
Siân, a private renter herself, understands the need to support people in rented accommodation. She pointed out that the average London rent is more than 50% of the average London salary. In addition to social housing development, Siân would support Renters’ unions, by providing them with staff and office space but they would remain independent of the Mayor’s office. Siân says the Mayor of London needs additional powers to control London’s rents and to licence landlords and she would seek these as Mayor.
Siân certainly has the strength to be London Mayor. Sitting in our studio surrounded by car fanatics she did not shy away from explaining why car owners should contribute more towards London’s transport system. Siân said with “10,000 people dying early from air pollution” and with London “Descending into gridlock,” any new Mayor would have to tackle the problem of congestion. Siân would introduce charges to drive around greater London while promoting a healthier lifestyle through cycling and financial incentives via lower costs for commuting on public transport.
The Green Party certainly appears to be the party for small business. As with her housing, Sian’s plans for congestion, creates an opportunity for them. Siân sees using London’s many canals as an alternative option for the transportation of heavy goods. She is already working on a bank for London, which would support small enterprises.
Siân is about local politics and people power. She believes that policing should be by consent and the police service should reflect the community that it serves and not alienate it. Siân is clear that London needs good intelligence to protect itself from threats of terrorism but she also recognises the danger of people “being scared into silence” and becoming “more susceptible [to the] propaganda that the extremists would put out.” Siân is clearly a Mayoral Candidate who has local people and local businesses as her focus.
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