The Forest of Dean has always been a very independent place and we're not about to become 'West Gloucester', or 'West London' for that matter without a fight! We intend to kick-off a conversation about independence and following in the footsteps of Wales, Scotland, Cornwall and Yorkshire, to move towards a progressive devolution from Westminster and a more independent Forest!
Let's put an end to local corruption and turn politics on its head, empowering local communities from the bottom-up and giving our Towns and Parishes more of the powers, finances and responsibilities they need to serve their communities. We will withhold taxes from London and reinvest locally instead. Decision making power will start in our communities and 'trickle-up' through Parish and Town councils, instead of starting and ending with District's Cabinet.
Health-care in the Forest.
The staff at the Dilke and Lydney hospital do a great job, but with a population in excess of 80,000 people- lacking adequately funded and resourced hospitals in the Forest is unacceptable. Too many people are having to make long and dangerous trips to Gloucester for their healthcare provision. This puts the health and well-being of local people at unnecessary risk.
We will secure the largest funding package in the Dilke's history, giving a new lease of life to existing infrastructure and expanding to offer a wider range of services, including a state-of-the-art maternity ward with facilities for natural birthing.
The Domesday Woodland.
With the taxes currently flushed down the drains to London, we will invest in our own infrastructure, maintaining services and commons like our roads. Surplus public finances, currently being 'stored' off-shore will instead be used to expand the public forestry estate. Working closely with national Forestry organisations we will revive the 'Domesday Woodland' initative that came out of the HOOF campaign.
This will create the largest woodland this country has seen for over one thousand years; and as it expands so shall our sustainable woodland industry with the high-quality livelihoods and homes it provides.
Livelihoods and Industry.
We vow to abolish the taxation of London and assist with the provision of land, premises and other resources, to help local businesses and producers.
We will remove the legislative and financial hurdles coming from London and Brussels and support the emergence of entirely new (and very traditional) forms of industry in the Forest, together we can build a local economy that really works for people and the environment. Creating thousands of high-quality livelihoods and many exciting opportunities for start-ups to get off the ground. This will secure a future, here in the Forest for our young people.
Food & Fuel Sovereignty.
As the world faces an uncertain time ahead, we think it would be wise to make provisions now, that will ensure future generations of Foresters are self-sufficient in both food and fuel, well into the future. This means no-more wholesale exportation of our natural resources, no more cheap wood for London to make toilet paper and glossy magazines with our natural heritage! Instead, we will use our natural resources, here in the Forest to make high-value products. By offering tax exempt status for local businesses and producers, we can stimulate local industry across the board, giving our vital local producers and businesses a fighting chance!