25 February 2019
Joining local Green campaigner Alistair Crisp to address an audience of civic groups and the National Farmers’ Union, he called for expenditure to be shifted away from vanity projects to the support of local communities and businesses, saying:
"All the other parties are signed up to spending £56 billion on the environmental disaster of HS2, which will destroy 100 ancient woodlands for the sake of cutting a few minutes from journey times. For a mere £500 million we could revolutionise local transport networks for 114 towns and cities. Think for a moment what even that level of spending could do to improve rail and bus services in towns like Spalding."
He went on to say that the Government should offer tax breaks to local businesses, where spending remains mostly within the local economy, rather than to huge corporations. In the wide-ranging discussion which followed, he supported the view of the new Independent group of MPs that politics is broken, but remained sceptical that they were in a position to offer the solutions we need; most are on record as opposing electoral reform, for instance. He also believed that a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the food and farming sectors in areas like South Holland.
Bartley emphasised that, even in an area where one of the major parties dominates, a single Green councillor can perform a critical role in scrutinising the work of the majority party and holding them to account, as well as being a source of new ideas. This was particularly vital in Spalding, where major new housing developments and the Western Relief Road were in danger of being pushed through regardless of the interests of existing residents, and without the additional infrastructure and services needed to cope with them.
While in Spalding, Jonathan Bartley visited Spalding Castle ward, where the effects of new development in the town will be felt heavily. Alistair Crisp is hoping to take the seat from the Conservatives in the local elections on May 2nd.
Sign up for updates