Posts tagged ‘Health’

February 16, 2018

Candidate profile – Sonia Hyner #RochesterWest

Sonia HynerSonia Hyner has lived in Medway since 2002 and has been an active peace and climate change campaigner for some time.  She worked for Citizen Advice for 21 years, supporting members of the public to alleviate poverty and secure housing, before recently retraining to teach English to adults at Further Education College. Sonia also stood as the Green Candidate for the Rochester and Strood constituency in the 2017 General Election.

Sonia says: “One of the reasons I decided to enter politics was because of a lack of female voices in public life.  I felt that if I wanted women to have a voice, I needed to stand myself to contribute to that change.  The Conservatives currently dominate the Council and people feel that the Council doesn’t take their wishes and needs seriously. People deserve better!  Voting Green in Rochester West will help to provide more balance on Medway Council as well as encouraging and protecting values that currently have little or no voice such as….


Medway’s Environment and Sustainability:

A Green councillor would work to put environmental sustainability, health and wellbeing at the heart of council decisions and to protect our local countryside and green spaces from needless development. Globally many plants and animals have died out because their natural habitats have been destroyed. We must fight to protect our healthy green spaces, and clean up our toxic air, as well as for all development and transport to be truly sustainable. One of my key interests is in reducing litter and landfill and improving recycling locally.

Our NHS and Public Services:

Nationally our NHS is being sold off to private companies at an alarming rate. Our local services are at risk – this needs to stop! The recent Carillion disaster demonstrates a total failure in both Labour and Tory economic policy and their management of public services. I would do all I can to protect and improve our local public services.  People need to come before profit!

Homes that meet the needs of Medway:

We need to provide homes that local young people can actually afford.  The Medway Local Plan consultation estimates that 75% of new homes need to be affordable over the next 25 years to meet the needs of the local population, but the Council is only planning to enforce a requirement for 25% and is failing currently to achieve even that. There are alternatives such as Community Land Trusts which support local communities to build their own homes at prices they can afford and many would agree that we need the Council to start providing enough homes again. I would do all I can to ensure that all local people have a decent home.

If elected as councillor in Rochester West, I will make it my duty to strive towards making Medway the responsive, supportive and secure place I know it should be; respecting and listening to ALL voices in the community.”

May 28, 2017

Green party candidates slam unfair treatment of older people

adult-social-careGreen Party candidates, Sonia Hyner and Clive Gregory, have been highly critical of measures proposed by the Tory Party to pay for social care which they claim are a tax on illness.

The Tory Manifesto says that older people requiring care in their own homes would have to meet the costs out of the equity tied up in their homes but would be allowed to keep the first £100,000. This is a change from current arrangements in which the cut-off was lower at £23,250 but did not include the value of people’s homes.  Under the new proposal home owners would be able to continue living in their homes until the end of their lives at which point the social care payments and premiums owed to equity insurance companies would become payable.  As a result of public reaction, the Conservative party changed this policy on Monday, four days after it was included in their manifesto, to include a cap on how much individuals would pay in social care, but have not stated the level of the cap.

Sonia Hyner, Green Party candidate for Rochester and Strood, says:
“The Tories are really hitting vulnerable older people this time round.  These unfair proposals mean that those who are fortunate enough to live to a ripe old age without needing social care don’t have to pay anything into the system and get to pass on their homes to their children or grandchildren. However this is denied to others who need social care as the result of disabilities which could be the result of a stroke or having developed dementia. It is basically a tax on illness.  The panic induced change on Monday to include a cap on the amount paid offers no guarantee that people’s homes will be safe from this unfair policy.

“A much fairer way of contributing to the costs of social care would be one which spreads the risk such as an increase in inheritance tax or progressive taxation.  The NHS contains the principles of sharing costs across the population so that no one has to fear financial penalties from being ill and the same principles should be applied to social care.  The Green Party would ensure that social care for the over 65s is provided free at the point of delivery just like the NHS”.

Clive Gregory, Green Party candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, adds:
“This proposal is yet another in a long line of asset grabs by the financial and global corporate sectors facilitated by Tory and Tory led governments and the Blair led Labour government.  Whether it is selling off our public services, PFIs, bailing out the banks or arranging private financial “help” which will take away the modest assets we have worked for all our lives; they all end up with us having to work harder for less.  The only beneficiaries of these proposals would be the banks and equity firms”.

May 2, 2016

Medway Housing and Green Space – by Steve Dyke

It was very disappointing to read that Cllr Jarrett thinks Medway will “inevitably see many of our green spaces lost to development” (Party People, Medway Messenger, 22nd April).

Green spaces offer health, social and economic benefits to us all and provide important assistance in meeting the challenges we face from climate change.

While it is recognised that the unreasonable housing target imposed on Medway by the Conservative Government is huge, there are many established or innovative alternatives to building on green space in addition to using readily available brownfield sites.  For example empty houses could be brought back into use, redundant retail or office space could be converted to residential and accommodation built above car parks or even on the water.

We hope that Cllr Jarrett’s comments do not mean that there is a lack of ambition by his Conservative Council in developing the new Medway Local Plan. With this he has the chance to make Medway an example to other authorities of how to provide affordable, sustainable, energy efficient urban housing – will he take it?

Medway Greens urge him and his Cabinet colleagues to consider the development of green space in Medway not as inevitable, but as a last resort, to be used only after all alternative housing solutions have been pursued.

Steve Dyke

Medway Green Parry





April 27, 2015

Last 10 days of Medway Greens General Election Campaign

It’s a busy time as we approach the last stretch of the campaign before polling day on Thursday 7th May.

At the weekend we had a further stall on Saturday in Rochester High Street, and door to door leafleting on Sunday, this time in the rain, which helped keep us cool.


Two of our candidates, Clive and Luke received the 38 degree petition to save the NHS in both Gilingham and Rochester High Streets on Saturday.  If Chatham 38 degrees members were looking for candidates, our Chatham and Aylesford candidate, Luke Balnave was there, he just couldn’t find you! As part of a party that has gone further than any other with its commitment to fully reinstate the NHS to its original purpose and remove market forces completely, our Green Party candidates were obviously very happy to receive the petition.


Clive and Luke with 38 degrees member (Luke on right)


Next week’s stall is likely to be in Strood. Further details to follow.

There are a few hustings coming up this week. This evening (Tuesday 28th April).the Medway Greens will be represented by Luke Balnave, PPC for Chatham and Aylesford at a hustings organised by the Medway Muslim Community in the Gillingham Mosque, Canterbury Street, Gillingham. This hustings will have a Muslim focus with Q&A from that community. However, others are welcome to attend .

Please notify Green Party member Mike Phillips if you wish to attend (as he needs to provide the organisers with expected numbers of attendees). You can contact Mike by e-mail on :-

Or if you prefer to stay indoors, you could look out for Clive Gregory, our PPC for Rochester and Strood who is likely to be gracing our TV screens making the Green case for saving the NHS. The interview recorded today in Brighton is due to be broadcast this evening (Tuesday 28th April) on BBC South East Today at 6.30 pm on BBC1 . 

Clive BBC South East

Here is what Clive had to say about the experience:

Interview with Mark Norman from BBC SE today in Brighton’s NHS training suite – great to have the opportunity to put the Green Party’s case for taking the NHS back into public ownership, increasing funding in the meantime, ending the lunacy of PFI’s and the tax on sugar to subsidise fresh fruit and veg… this and more – although we’ll see what get’s left in on the edit. Also learned from the student how to do a resus’ properly – I can’t believe how hard you have to work. 30 chest compressions at 120 bpm then 2 breaths then repeat until the ambulance gets there – and compress the chest 5-6cm – you have to apply your full weight – unbelievable but amazing. Students were really on the case but the point they all made was that if there’s one reason that the NHS is struggling to attract staff it’s impossible hours and working conditions. They don’t go into the profession for massive salaries (although they want respect and reward) but they want a high quality of life and only the Green Party understand this and will fund the NHS so that the staff are rewarded with a great profession AND a high quality of life.

Further events this week so far are as follows:

Wednesday 29th April 
Clive will be attending a debate at King’s School, Rochester.
And later on, at 7.30 pm, Clive is due to be on Radio Kent  debating benefits for immigrants with a UKIP candidate.
Thursday 30th April at 7.30 pm
Hustings at St Mark’s Church, Gillingham – Our candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, Neil Williams, is on the panel,
November 19, 2014

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett urges Rochester and Strood voters to vote for hope not fear

On the eve of the Rochester and Strood by-election, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has today urged Rochester and Strood voters to vote for the positive choice of Green Party candidate Clive Gregory.

Bennett said:

“Clive has been saying clearly to the voters that he understands they are struggling in our economy of low wages and insecure employment, with high housing costs and NHS facilities that are struggling to cope.

“But while other parties have been scapegoating immigrants and immigration, Clive has been identifying the reasons why so many are struggling: the failure to curb our fraud-ridden, risk-taking, overly large financial sector, the loss of council homes to Right to Buy and failure to build the affordable housing we need, the underfunding of the NHS and the disruption caused to it by this government’s privatisation agenda.

“And I know from my visit to the constituency how many voters have valued Clive and the Green Party’s consistent resistance to the Lodge Hill development.”

Commenting on recent campaign events, Bennett added:

“It was frankly hypocritical of Yvette Cooper to complain about the ‘arms race of rhetoric’ on immigration yesterday, while making a speech focused on tightening up control of borders.

“A couple of days before the Rochester and Strood by-election, the Labour party could have been announcing plans to make the minimum wage a Living Wage, or to end ‘right to buy’ to stop the bleeding away of the public resource of social housing. Or they could have been announcing their abandonment of the Work Capability Assessment that has plagued the lives of so many disabled and ill people.

“Instead, like the Tory candidate in Rochester and Strood by-election, who listed ‘immigration’ as her top issue, Ms Cooper has chosen to chase after Ukip and try to out-do it, rather than tackle the real causes of the struggle and insecurity faced by so many millions of households in Britain today.

“Only the Green Party candidate, Clive Gregory, with the ballot paper strap line ‘say no to racism’, is taking on Ukip head-on, exposing its damaging, dangerous misinformation.”

October 18, 2014

Rochester and Strood By-Election Candidate Demands Answer on HIV Comment

Medway Green Party have asked Mark Reckless, UKIP parliamentary candidate for Rochester and Strood, to respond to comments made by the party’s leader regarding migrants with HIV.

Shortly before his visit to Rochester to support Mark Reckless in wooing voters for the upcoming by-election, Nigel Farage was reported to comment that he felt that migrants with HIV should be banned from the UK.

Clive Gregory, parliamentary candidate for Rochester and Strood says:

“Nigel Farage made his ignorant and ill-informed comment in the same breath as talking about criminals and murderers.  This perpetuates the stigma of a disease which 100,000 people in the UK live with.  With treatment it is perfectly possible for those who have this condition to have a normal life expectancy and be non-infectious.

“Nigel Farage should be ashamed of himself.  By singling out a condition which is already shrouded in stigma and mis-information, he is responsible for increasing levels of fear.  Would he have made the same comment about migrants with cancer or diabetes? Those in public office, or with potential for public office, should be working hard to reduce stigma rather than putting more barriers up”.

Clive Gregory will be out and about in the coming weeks talking to voters.


May 15, 2013

Press Release: Get Medway Cycling

Medway Green Party supports the recommendations of the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report (1).

Trish Marchant, Medway Green Party Co-ordinator explains:

“The Get Britain Cycling report of the All Party Cycling Group in Parliament offers many important recommendations of relevance to Medway. Health, education, sport, business and the environment all benefit from increasing levels of cycling. Investment is needed in Medway to reduce ill-health and obesity. We need to help people live healthier lives and cut down on costly medical attention. Making cycling more attractive and accessible to people would contribute to this”.

Trish adds:

“It should also be noted that carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere has now reached 400 parts per million, the highest level for over 3 million years. This makes it urgent that greater efforts must be made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or radical increases in temperature and climate instability will make life in Medway far more difficult than we have ever experienced”.

The Report recommends more 20 mph limits; increasing cycling from 2% of all journeys in 2011 to 10% by 2025; and improved access and availability to training to enhance cycling skills. Medway Green Party supports extending cycle routes to help this process and creating cycling networks throughout the town.

Trish comments:

“It is not enough to simply put cycle lanes here and there which don’t allow people to complete the journey. Not only is this less safe and less convenient for cyclists, but cycle journeys that compete with cars are likely to make climate change worse, not improve it (2). What we need is dedicated lanes for cyclists to be incorporated into every road improvement programme. The report recommends that its recommendations can be achieved by a sustained public investment of a mere £10-20 per year, per head.”

Medway Green Party also urges the public to sign the epetition calling for the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report to be implemented. This can be found at: Signatures stand at about 57,000 already and the petition closes on 23rd April 2014.



1. Summary and recommendations from the report:

2. Car versus bike: road design to cut pollution

March 6, 2013

Press Release: Thames Estuary Airport – Medway Greens’ Response to Comment by Rochester Airport Director

Newts are News to Medway Greens

When Dan Bloom, of the Medway Messenger, asked Medway community figures for their views on the proposed Thames Estuary airport, it was suggested he received some surprising results.  One of these surprising results was, perhaps, the comment by Paul Britten, Director of Rochester Airport: “Let’s have a proper presentation rather than the Green Party talking about newts” he said.

So for the benefit of Mr Britten, and any other readers who may have missed our previous arguments (those which don’t involve newts), the Medway Green Party would like to present some of our reasons why a new airport is bad (and not just on the Peninsula).

What about Climate Change? Air travel is the world’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gases. It generates nearly as much CO2 annually as that from all human activities in Africa. If aviation continues to grow at the current rate then it will account for half of what even the government thinks is the most the UK should be emitting by 2050.

Will it really improve the local economy? It can equally well drain jobs and resources out of the area. Any transport link has the capacity to move jobs in two directions, into the area and out of it.  Plus, there is no guarantee that jobs will go to local people.

We are also concerned about the loss of homes and communities. It is not only that people will be forced out of their homes, but whole communities will be affected. Relocation is likely to result in greater distances between friends and families who have lived in the same community for years.  Why should local people have to go through that?

And then there’s the additional infrastructure. How are people going to get there? Many people will be travelling from London.  The rail line already struggles with capacity especially at peak commuting times. Any airport would require significant construction work for the transport links, road and rail, which will impact on vast swathes of the natural environment as well as causing additional pollution, and travel stress.

What about pollution? Air and ground traffic at major airports can lead to pollution levels as high as city centres. Previous studies of Gatwick airport predicted that, as noxious fumes from cars decreased due to cleaner vehicles, emissions from aviation would double over the same period.

Then of course we have got impact on wildlife, predominantly birds, although the Peninsula is home to a variety of indigenous mammals and insects. The salt marshes on the Peninsula are designated for internationally important populations of wintering birds. It is unlikely that it will be possible to move these bird populations to a new habitat.

The high bird population also produces a risk of bird strike. The proposal has been deemed unsafe by the RSPB. Even with an aggressive bird hazard management programme, the hazard to aircraft posed by birds is severe.

And has anyone looked at the problem of finite resources? The Earth doesn’t continually produce oil to replace that which we use. Availability of oil must be a consideration for all future development plans. Airports just won’t function without oil.

So just to reiterate, the airport is unwanted, unnecessary and sticks two fingers up at the residents and wildlife of the area.

Trish Marchant
Medway Green Party Co-ordinator

November 15, 2012

A Simple Choice

The video below is from Animals Australia but is relevant to other countries, including the UK.

David M. Davison

November 1, 2012

Cuba’s Healthcare System

In the November 2012 issue of New Internationalist, John M. Kirk and Chris Walker write about Cuba’s healthcare system and, in the podcast below, John M. Kirk answers some of the criticisms levelled at Cuba and explains why he believes wealthier countries can learn from Cuba.

To listen to the podcast, please click the arrow in the graphic below.

David M. Davison