Tuesday, 11 January 2011


Candidate Interview: Peter Allen (Green) (acknowledgements to Saddleworth News)

Green candidate Peter Allen has described his party as “the voice of hope” in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.

Mr Allen also used an interview with Saddleworth News to say he believed the government was wrong to cut public sector jobs, and called for higher taxes on the wealthy and tougher measures on tax evasion to help reduce the deficit instead.

He explained: “We’re against all cuts in public services. Not only are they immoral and unjust and will lead to massive deprivation, but also we think that they’re not going to be an effective way of reducing public expenditure and reducing the deficit.”

Mr Allen continued: “If a public sector worker on an average wage of £25,000 was made redundant, the actual saving to the state once reduced taxation and the payment of benefits is taken into account, could be as little as £2,000. So it doesn’t actually make a lot of economic sense.”

He pointed to research which suggested that “around £70 billion” could be saved by increasing taxes on higher earners and significantly reducing the amount of money lost in tax avoidance. He added that the Greens would support some spending cuts, such as “an immediate end” to the war in Afghanistan.

Mr Allen said the Greens opposed the scaling back of the government’s school-building programme, which meant the planned new Saddleworth School in Diggle had to be shelved. He said: “If a local decision is that there needs to be a new school in this area, which would be a decision that would be appropriately made locally, then that would be something that we would want to see carry on.”

On the related issues of the new Tesco at Greenfield and the impending parking restrictions in Uppermill, Mr Allen recognised the convenience of supermarkets, but added: “On the other hand, people also have a commitment to local shops on local high streets. I know there’s a vibrant one here in Uppermill, and I know there’s a parking problem.”

He went on to suggest: “I’m wondering whether the Tesco car park couldn’t be used by people shopping here in Uppermill, and perhaps Tesco could lay on free buses so people could actually continue to shop in Uppermill as well as using Tesco, and that would be something that Tesco would be contributing to the community, and quite rightly so.”

Mr Allen said he was fully behind Network Rail’s plans to expand the railways in our area, which includes the re-opening of the disused Standedge tunnels and perhaps a new station at Diggle. He said this and other infrastructure projects could be paid for by “a massive shift away from investing in road building.”

Reflecting on the actions of Phil Woolas, which have led to this by-election taking place, Mr Allen said he remembered the former MP as a contemporary of his from his student days in Manchester. He condemned the leaflets sent out by Mr Woolas in last year’s general election, adding: “The Green Party welcomes the multiracial and multicultural nature of modern Oldham and modern Britain, so we don’t think immigration is a problem, we actually think it’s a quality.”

Mr Allen lives in Glossop and is an advice worker in Manchester.

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