Local Elections: Green councillor with 16-vote majority will focus on climate justice if re-elected

Written by Lauren White

I am a trainee journalist at the University of Sheffield, Editor in Chief of nebeep.com and a proud Geordie.

A Sheffield Green Party candidate who won his seat in 2018 with a majority of just 16 votes has told Sheffield Wire he is standing for re-election to oppose “rampant capitalism” and to help communities.

Martin Phipps said it has “been an honour to be a councillor over the last four years” and that if re-elected in the Sheffield City ward he would focus on climate and social justice.

Mr Phipps drew attention to Kelham Island and Highfield, areas within the ward which he says are often overlooked. He said it was down to a misperception that there are not many residents in the city centre and surrounding areas.

Ryan Vintage in the city centre is plastered with leaflets supporting Mr Phipps

When it came to improving his 16-vote hold on the ward, Mr Phipps said increasing the majority would be a fantastic achievement after a re-count on the night in 2018.

He said: “But you never take seats for granted and I never would. We have been out talking to people throughout the year – not just at election time – and I think people appreciate that.

“We’re hopeful, but nothing is ever written in stone.”

Out on the doorstep, Mr Phipps said the key issue raised has been air pollution and cleaning up the air in the city centre was a priority of his.

Mr Phipps said it tied in with the issue of buses in Sheffield, pointing to the Greens fighting to extend the closure of Pinstone Street to cars after lockdown. Mr Phipps said the closure has helped speed up bus routes.

As well as this, the software developer and maths graduate said climate and social justice are interconnected and he will continue to lobby the council to retrofit houses at a large scale.

The policy involves building the side of a house with insulation and a heat pump instead of a boiler among other aspects. Mr Phipps said the policy creates nicer homes to live in and reduces energy bills – something he recognised was important during the current cost of living crisis.

On the issue of social justice, Mr Phipps pointed to his record in the ward. He told how the allocated funding to appoint a Citizens Advice Bureau worker to attend a social supermarket in Highfield was a step in the right direction.

Social supermarkets exist to sell food for little to no cost to those on low incomes. Mr Phipps said having a qualified member of staff there to advise people on debts, housing, and benefits is useful to those struggling.

Other candidates standing in the City ward are Labour’s Gareth Slater, Andrew Smith from the Conservative Party, Liberal Democrat Julia Wright, and Adam Calvert of the Northern Independence Party.

Written by Lauren White

I am a trainee journalist at the University of Sheffield, Editor in Chief of nebeep.com and a proud Geordie.

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