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Sian Berry Answers Your Questions

Published on 16 May 2016 03:09 PM

On 25 February 2016 Age UK London hosted a Mayoral Candidate Hustings for older people, inviting Sian Berry (Green), Zac Goldsmith (Conservative), Sadiq Khan (Labour) and Caroline Pidegon (Liberal Democrats). 

We collected over 100 questions before the event, and could only ask a small portion of them, so we asked the candidates to respond with answers to all of the questions as soon as possible.
Here, Caroline Pidegon answers your questions.

On 25 February 2016 Age UK London hosted a Mayoral Candidate Hustings for older people, inviting Sian Berry (Green), Zac Goldsmith (Conservative), Sadiq Khan (Labour) and Caroline Pidegon (Liberal Democrats). 

We collected over 100 questions before the event, and could only ask a small portion of them, so we asked the candidates to respond with answers to all of the questions as soon as possible.

Here, Sian Berry answers your questions; when referring to a particular page in the Green Party Manifesto, you can view the document online.

Transport

1.       Alan Banner

Redbridge Council are fining Dial-a-Ride for using a bus only Road and stopping outside the Library. This transport is essential for disabled people. Can you do anything to help?

Whether elected as Mayor or an Assembly Member Sian will happily pursue this with TfL.

2.       Sheila Herrando

How do you propose to make London safer for cyclists? Would you consider ban on HGVs during the rush hour?

Please see our manifesto for our cycling and road safety plans – page 10: We are committed to a rush-hour ban on HGVs

3.       Mirella Caffrini

Will trams or electric buses make a return to the streets of London?

Yes we are committed to expanding the tram network and introducing it to other parts of London.

4.       Penny Jones

I am very concerned over the present drive to put cyclists above everyone, including those on the lowest rung of the ladder - the pedestrians and those who travel by public transport. Especially the more elderly.

We are committed to ensuring our streets are safe for everyone and to minimise any conflict between cyclists and pedestrians. Please see the transport plans in our manifesto.

5.       Mary Mckellar

Candidates explain how to tackle the problem, of cyclists riding on pavements even when lanes are available… especially with those hard of hearing and/or ‘not nimble on feet’.  Applaud what GLA are doing but tidy.

We are committed to ensuring that the laws against cycling on the pavement are properly enforced . More segregated cycle lanes will also help this.

6.       Pauline Ryan

Will you keep fares down for fare paying Londoners?

Yes please see our plans to reduce and flatten fares in the transport section of our manifesto.

7.       Anna Herlihy

on traffic and getting rid of some of the superhighway please so as to allow for vans and lorries which we need for transporting goods etc to London.

The cycle superhighways are essential for making some of our busiest roads safe and ensure that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians do not come into conflict with one another.

8.       Tina McDonnell

Will the next candidate continue with the plan to bring London overground rail services under TFL by 2018?

Yes

9.       Nora Higgins

When will cyclists be held responsible for their actions endangering their own lives by irresponsible use of the roads?

We are committed to ensuring that the laws against cycling on the pavement are properly enforced. More segregated cycle lanes will also help this.

10.   Steve Mcnamara

If Uber wipe out the black cab trade how will wheelchair users get around?

We are committed to ensuring that the black can trade is protected and that Uber are forced to comply with regulations.

Streets and pavements

11.   Joseph Healey

What will the Mayor do to free up traffic lanes to help ambulances and emergency vehicles reach their target?

Green plans to reduce traffic and ease congestion will ensure that our road space is available for those who genuinely need it, like emergency vehicles, and that un-necessary traffic is deterred. Sian and the Greens will consult the relevant user groups.

12.   Chelliah Lohendran

Has have any plans to improve the current weak Dial a ride transport by increasing the amount of transport vehicles?

Yes. Sian and the Greens are committed to improving door-to-door services for disabled and older Londoners as well as improving accessibility on the public transport network.

13.   Jamila Pashwa

Safe pavements for old people

Very important to be tackled for both elderly and disabled. Crack down on pavement clutter, overgrown hedges etc

Society and community

14.   Lisa Greensill

How will you support civil society in London to meet the needs of Londoners?

Please see the Giving Londoners a Voice section of our manifesto on page 35.

15.   Ruth Lankester

How can the Mayor encourage more consistent provision of services for older people across London? eg London wide sports provision/ charges

Sian and the Greens would appoint a representative in City Hall with the task of monitoring and co-ordinating the effects of all the Mayor’s policies on older people.

16.   Mary Doherty

As mostly older people Volunteer in London, will there ever be recognition for their selfless work to their community and London?

Sian and the Greens would appoint a representative in City Hall with the task of monitoring and co-ordinating the effects of all the Mayor’s policies on older people.

17.   Carlie Newman

How can you make theatres more accessible (in price) for over 60s?

Support the elderly. More help and information for elderly needed (not all online)  eg Theatre Goers Club. Membership fee plus £2.50 entrance.

18.   Lucie Cottrell

How will the candidate support libraries? Specifically where communities have been forced to take over libraries (or lose them), what safegaurds can and will the candidate put in place to ensure these libraries and the local residents who finance them, are not charged rent by local councils, creating an unsustainable cost burden.

Greens have been strong supporters of retaining local libraries. Although they are a council not City Hall responsibility Sian and the Greens will continue to support and champion them and oppose cuts.

19.   Hannah O’Neale

Will you consider an Amnesty for all those who have been living here for over 5 years who could be contributing to the economy and making London a truly diverse and welcoming city?

Yes. This is something Green London Assembly Members have strongly championed and Sian and the Greens will continue to do so.

20.   Monica McCormack

Can we look forward to no further senior citizens' day centres being closed?

Greens will continue to fight for highly important centres, however, but it needs a change in direction at national level, too, to reverse the Government’s failed austerity policies.

Young People

21.   Ann Mir

How to keep enough open space for our young to exercise cheaply and effectively

Sian and the Greens are strongly committed to protecting our parks and Green spaces.

22.   Ornella Nsio

There are thousands of disengaged young people in the capital, how do we ensure that they do not miss out on the housing, employment opportunities in the capital.

Please see our plans to involve and support young people on pages 26/27 of our manifest.o

Loneliness and isolation

23.   Rina Rosselson

What will they do to facilitate community centres where old and young can mingle and receive loneliness.?

Sian and the Greens fully support such initiatives. Please see page 26 of our manifesto outlining plans for a London for all ages Please see our plans to involve and support young people on pages 26/27 of our manifesto.

24.   Amina Khatun

How do you intend to deal with older people and isolation?

Keep open community centres. Create an index of people 55+ and send news letters of relevant information of available facilities and services. Eg: Support dog visiting groups, ‘Down memory lane’ recordings etc Please see page 26 of our manifesto on how Greens at City Hall will engage older Londoners.

 

25.   Chelliah Lohendran

What plans has the new mayor for the older people in London and how he propose to eliminate loneliness?

Keep open community centres. Create an index of people 55+ and send news letters of relevant information of available facilities and services. Eg: Support dog visiting groups, ‘Down memory lane’ recordings etc Please see page 26 of our manifesto on how Greens at City Hall will engage older Londoners.

26.   Angela McCullagh

What is your strategy for combatting loneliness amongst older people in London?

Keep open community centres. Create an index of people 55+ and send news letters of relevant information of available facilities and services. Eg:Support dog visiting groups, ‘Down memory lane’ recordings etc Please see page 26 of our manifesto on how Greens at City Hall will engage older Londoners. 

Terrorism and Crime and Safety

27.   Jay Ediriwira

What action would you take to deal with terrorist activities in London?

Please see pages 20-22 of our manifesto on our plans for working with London's communities and keeping our city safe .

28.   Kofi Ben Asante

How safe is London in view of recent threats of ISIL?

Please see pages 20-22 of our manifesto on our plans for working with London's communities and keeping our city safe.

29.   Jan Marriot

Are the Safer Neighbourhood Officers to be kept in service?

In spite of government cuts we strongly support safe neighbourhood policing Please see pages 20-22 of our manifesto on our plans for working with London's communities and keeping our city safe.

30.   Ralf Wilton

Are you going to increase the number of policemen on the beat?

Yes by increasing civilian backroom staff freeing up police to be on the beat. Please see pages 20-22 of our manifesto on our plans for working with London's communities and keeping our city safe.

31.   Clara Edwards

There is too much crime - will you increase policing around the streets to prevent this?

Please see pages 20-22 of our manifesto on our plans for working with London's communities and keeping our city safe.

32.   Fazaal Hammadhu

Plan for London safety

Please see pages 20-22 of our manifesto on our plans for working with London's communities and keeping our city safe.

Environment

33.   Helen Gardner

What do you propose to do about air pollution in London?

Please see our manifesto p12 for our action plan for tackling air pollution Please see pages 20-22 of our manifesto on our plans for working with London's communities and keeping our city safe.

 Paul Brownlow

 

A recent Which? survey indicated that the majority of diesel vehicles break emissions laws. How will your party tackle this problem and reduce the risks to health it poses?

Please see our manifesto p12 for our action plan for tackling air pollution Please see pages 20-22 of our manifesto on our plans for working with London's communities and keeping our city safe.

35.   Harriet Edwards

Will they commit as London Mayor to urgently bring London's air pollution levels within the legal limit by 2020, in line with the rest of the UK, rather than 2025 as has been previously stipulated? Also how will they as London Mayor look to tackle health inequalities across London Boroughs?

36.   Monique Buchli

What measures are you going to introduce to reduce pollution from road traffic in London? Other large cities in Europe run trolleys, buses and trams on electricity.

Please see our manifesto p12 for our action plan for tackling air pollution Please see pages 20-22 of our manifesto on our plans for working with London's communities and keeping our city safe.

Energy

37.   Richard Kett

What are your thoughts on imposing CHP/district heating on new developments to ensure people in the local area share in the benefits of investment?

Sian and the Greens strongly support CHP schemes as part of a sustainable, renewable, localised energy network.

38.   Alice Woudhuysen

Do you believe that home energy efficiency should be made a national infrastructure priority and will you make it a priority for London as Mayor?

It should be a national infrastructure priority. Sian and the Greens are strongly committed to a clear home energy efficiency plan for London. Please seepage 34/35 of our manifesto.

Housing

39.   Angela Ratcliffe

How they will create and maintain housing for reasonable rental?

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector  pages 4-7.

40.   Susan Dellet

How are Housing Associations going to be protected from the Housing and Planning Bill 2015

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector  pages 4-7 . 

41.   Ellie Downey

Are you in favour of rent controls ?

Yes. See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector  pages 4-7.

42.   Gary Harding

Social housing

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector  pages 4-7.

43.   Barbara Ryan

How will you help young Londoners stay in the city given the unaffordable cost of housing?

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector  pages 4-7.

 David Kriekmeir

 

The Housing Act will force Londoners living in social housing and earning more than £40,000 a year to pay market rent for their homes – an increase of £300 a week in many cases. This will perversely make many people eligible for Housing Benefit for the first time in their lives and entrap all social housing tenants in a web of reporting, claiming etc.. While a number of older people will be directly affected and find themselves forced to leave their homes (and probably London), the biggest impact may well come in health and other social services which are often so vital to older peoples’ lives – already many of the most experienced specialist nurses, social workers etc. who live in social housing are planning ways around this by advancing retirement, reducing hours etc. to ensure they fall below this limit, while at the same time London is short of such workers. As Mayor, what would your advice be to those facing the loss of their home or reduction to a benefit level lifestyle after 30-40 years of hard work, successful career progression and pension contributions?

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector  pages 4-7.

45.   Stanley Freed

Due to the high rents being charged by unscrupulous landlords, many of London’s indigenous population are being obliged to move away. The sale of social housing over many years has been a major contributor to this problem. What are the Mayoral candidates prepared to do to halt the sale of council (social) houses and build more houses and flats that are really affordable to rent. There also needs to be some sort of control over what rents can be charged by the private sector.

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector pages 4-7.

46.   Myrtle Agguter

What steps would you take to stop wealthy foreign nationals and consortiums buying up London Housing stock and either keeping empty as future investment or renting out with very high rents making London almost unaffordable to key and low paid workers.

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing, clamp down on inappropriate developments that do not meet the needs of ordinary Londoners and control rents in the private sector pages 4-7.

47.   Glyn Thomas

What is your opinion of resident led community schemes?

Support these co-operative ventures Please see our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector pages 4-7.

48.   Fiona Carolan

What is being done to improve sheltered housing for the elderly?

Green Assembly Member, Darren Johnson, led an investigation on this for the Housing Committee. Sian and the Greens are committed to seeing those recommendations implemented.

49.   Alfred Bovil

Which Mayoral candidate is ready to advocate a significant annual land and property levy so that all land banks become to expensive to hoard, thus becoming available to build on and underused properties (5,500 in Kensington alone) become available to rent and the 650,000 residential planning approvals become too expensive to hoard?

Greens have consistently supported land value taxation measures to tackle land banking in this way.

50.   Hedi Argent

If you are elected, what will you do about promoting co-housing schemes for older people in the capital?

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector pages 4-7.

51.   Maria Brenton

What are you going to do to help the development of cohousing communities of older people in London?

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector  pages 4-7.

52.   Glyn Thomas

If elected what would you do to promote co-operative and mutual housing?

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector  pages 4-7.

53.   Susie Wilson

Why are they so keen to get rid of Social Housing?

We need a change in direction to end estate demolitions and scrap Right To Buy. See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector  pages 4-7.

54.   John Kaka

The burning question on Housing in London is Hot on the Agenda of the candidates< How do they envisage funding the affordable housing proposed by the hopefuls

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and our funding plans sector pages 4-7.

55.   Götz-Johannes Kadow

How do you intend to tackle the housing problem in London?

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector pages 4-7.

56.   Claire Chidgey

How will they tackle homelessness for the most vulnerable in London?

See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector pages 4-7.

Housing/LGBT

57.   John Cassin

Any policies relating to housing for LBGT community

Sian and the Greens support specialist LGBT housing provision for older Londoners, as has worked well in other cities around the world, as well as tackling discrimination in other hosing projects.

Employment

58.   Peter Brown

London should support people who are able want to work into their 70's and 80'. What are you doing to remove all forms of legislative barriers and prejudice?

Yes people should be able to work as long as they feel able. Green plans for a Basic Income and Citzens Pension would support this.

59.   Jessica Walker

What will you do to support Adult Education and ESOL?

We believe there is a need for pan London co-ordination of both adult education and further education and a role for the Mayor

Older People

60.   Leo Atkins

How much weight do their policies place upon older people's issues and concerns?

This is a huge priority. Please see the focus on a London for all ages on page 27 of our manifesto See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector pages 4-7.

61.   Anne Critchley

How do you feel your life experience can help you relate to older Londoners? What is your experience of life in London?

Please see the focus on a London for all ages on page 27 of our manifesto See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector pages 4-7.

62.   Sheila Manku

What do each party have to offer older people living in London?

Please see the focus on a London for all ages on page 27 of our manifesto See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector pages 4-7.

63.   Hasnain Ahmed

What are your plans regarding pensions scheme for older people living in London?

Nationally Greens are committed to a Citzens Pension, non-means tested as per the demands of the National Pensioners Convention.

64.   Joy Keane

Will the over 75 TV licence be cancelled

The Green party supports free TV license for all pensioners

65.   Audrey Smart

What provisions for older people, particularly in light of ageism, are you going to provide for London's growing older population?

Please see the focus on a London for all ages on page 27 of our manifesto See our manifesto for plans to create more social and community housing and control rents in the private sector pages 4-7.

Poverty

66.   Marrianne Moore

How would you reduce the gap between the London rich and the London poor?

Please see page 26 of our manifesto.

Planning

67.   W-K Cheung

As mayor, you're likely to have £20m cut from your TfL budget from central government if the controversial Garden Bridge fails. With this in mind, isn't it just sensible to scrap funding for this project and invest it in existing transport services such as east London crossings instead?

Sian and the Greens are committed to scrapping the garden bridge project but oppose new road crossings in east London that would merely add to pollution and congestion

68.   Rosa Harding

Do you favour a third airport at Heathrow

No

69.   Stephen Plowden

Given that any way of adding extra airport capacity in the London region would be hugely expensive and environmentally damaging, and that geography shows that it would not be possible for London to compete at as a transfer point between Europe and the far east with Dubai, Istanbul etc, would the candidates agree with me that we should not be attempting to supply more airport capacity in the London region?

Definitely yes

70.   John Ball

With zero emission vehicles likely to be the norm before the new runway is built what is wrong with Heathrow?

Unlikely that aircraft will have zero emissions in the near future. The noise and other impacts it would have would also be devastating.

Health and Social Care

71.   Asmina Rettula

How would they support the London NHS?

Greens have consistently opposed privatisation of the NHS and want the Mayor and Assembly to have a greater say on provision in London.

72.   Jackie Morris

What are their views on improving primary and secondary care across London to make care delivery more equitable?

We need improvements to ensure more equitable and consistent delivery. The Mayor and Assembly need to be given a greater say in the NHS in London on behalf of Londoners.

73.   Maureen Childs

To solve he bed blocking in hospitals creates a specialised housing problem for local authorities. What plans will the mayor make for housing the seniors released from hospital in the light of the extreme austerity cuts?

We need to ensure a greater supply of suitable specialist housing. 

74.   Beate Herrmann

What will you do to help people living with dementia receive the care and support they need in the face of budgetary cuts?

We would campaign to re-instate adequate and appropriate funding. Support a dementia-friendly city through training and information for front-line staff in all GLA group agencies and promote this training to borough councils and private companies that deal with the public.

75.   Anne Drinkell

How will you support the campaign to stop the closure of acute hospitals at Charing Cross and Ealing Hospitals given the lack of capacity in neighbouring hospitals and community services?

Sian and the Greens will give strong support to the campaigns against closures. The Mayor and Assembly need to be given a greater say in the NHS in London on behalf of Londoners. 

76. Michael and Eleanor Jupp

Will the successful candidate/s support a judicial review on the Shaping a Healthier Future plan that is seriously effecting the people of North West London NHS that is recommended in the Michael Mansfield Tri Borough report. 

Yes. 

77.    Asoke Dutta

How would you improve social care for older Londoners?

More community care improve pay for carers see Q 30 – Q 36.

78.   Hazel Watson

What are the candidates going to do to effectively implement correct care packages are in place by social care providers.

This is most important that the correct care packages are effectively implemented and CQC must be monitored.

79.   Wilfried Riminsberger

Where is the support coming from for elderly people that could stay at their home with the support of a volunteering community if bat community is lost by the ogling housing crisis and clearly can't be replaced by private companies?

Sian and the Greens agree and that is why we have clear plans to tackle the housing crisis. See page 4-7 of our manifesto.

Age Friendly City

80.   Ellen Lebethe

What do you propose to do to make London an Age Friendly city which meets the needs of older Londoners and which values their contributions?

Please see plans for a London for all ages on page 27 of our manifesto.

Candidates

81.   Walter Bowry

WWhy should anyone believe you, when as politicians you tend not to answer questions but talk around things instead?

As As Greens we always try to be fair, honest and transparent with people. Greens have had a good record on the London Assembly of doing this.

82.   Joann Tann

Sian Berry: If the Green Party is elected to the London General Assembly, how do you intend to hold the elected mayor accountable?

Since the London Assembly was set up in 2000 Greens have constantly held the mayor accountable and have spoken up for London's different communities. Please see page35 of our manifesto.

83.   Henry Lyons

When it comes to transport policy, if Sian Berry had to support Conservative or Labour, who would she pick?

Sian believes there are flaws in both parties plans but it will be up to Londoners to decide.

84.   Emma Stastna

What will be the first steps you will take in case you became a mayor?

Tackling the housing crisis will be number one priority and persuading the Government to give London additional powers to implement the necessary policies.