THE LEADER of the Green Party has declared Britain’s economy as ‘broken’ and hailed small Malvern businesses during a visit to the district.
Natalie Bennett (pictured at Malvern Cycles CIC) was escorted to several firms on Monday (October 14) by mayor Julian Roskams, including The Fold Care Farm in Bransford, Overdrive Project, Ivy Cycles and Malvern Cycles CIC.
She highlighted the importance of such local start-ups, saying they provided a more stable business base compared to bigger chains.
Ms Bennett singled out the Overdrive Project which provides automotive training for young people, for special praise.
“Malvern has some real places of deprivation which can be much harder in an environment which has quite wealthy areas and disadvantaged communities side by side.” she said.
On the evening, the leader gave a public address at Malvern Cube where she discussed the campaign to renationalise railways arguing they were a ‘striking’ example of failed privatisation throughout Britain which has included the prison service and NHS.
She labelled the HS2 project as an ‘extraordinarily poor’ use of money which would mainly benefit London and called for ‘Low Speed One’ lines instead particularly on those which would link east and west regions.
“This Government, which has failed to produce a transport plan for England, is clearly in a total muddle on transport policy, as in so many other areas.
“Above all we need to be investing in ‘active’ transport, walking and cycling, creating facilities to make this safe and comfortable, with additional benefits for community health and wellbeing.”
Ms Bennett said the Green Party had gone through a positive period and was looking forward to the EU elections to build on obtaining 18 councillors throughout the West Midlands including Malvern Hills district and town members as well as Worcestershire County Council representatives.
“West Midlands is the party’s strongest area of growth and Malvern is important to that, it’s an area we have historic strength in.”
Coun Roskams, leader of the Democrats party on Malvern Hills District Council, added: “Natalie addressed the need to build a new economic model, based on local ownership and production, community co-operation and support.
“She has challenged and we have shown we are ready to take up that challenge.”