Ellie Chowns defends investment in local services and affordable housing in national TV debate.

Ellie Chowns, Green MP candidate for North Herefordshire, appeared in a live national TV debate on Thursday 25 April on Channel 4.  

Dr Chowns represented the national Green Party of England and Wales in Channel 4’s local election debate alongside national representatives of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Reform ahead of polling stations opening across the country on 2 May. 

The programme ‘The UK Decides: Local Elections Debate’ was broadcast live from Gloucester on Channel 4 and is available to watch on YouTube. [1] 

On the Green Party’s prospects at the 2nd May local elections, Dr Chowns said:  

“We had brilliant results last year and we’re looking forward to a really successful set of results this year.   

“People like voting for Greens. When they vote for them, they vote for them again, because they know they get councillors who work hard for their communities and really care about local issues.”  

On central government funding of local councils, Dr Chowns said:  

“Not investing in our public services has really big long-term costs. We’ve got to recognise that money spent on public services is money well spent. It’s effective investment for the future.”  

“When we think about potholes – a public service people really associate with councils – in my area there’s a £310 million backlog in potholes because there’s been no money going into councils for 15 years.

“Then there’s an election year, [and] the Government says ‘[…] We found it down the back of the sofa, we’ll promise you a bit more next year’. But failure to invest means that people have been spending hundreds of pounds fixing their vehicles because they bump into potholes all the time.”  

In an exchange with Conservative housing minister, Lee Rowley MP, on the affordability crisis in housing, Dr Chowns said:  

“There are all sorts of factors that are driving the demand on housing, but the key thing that’s happened is that the price of housing has gone up and up and up.

“We need policies like […] local rent controls so that people can actually afford to even rent a place, let alone get on the housing ladder.  

“These days the average house price is eight times more than the average salary. Young people, the generation under us, they can’t even think about getting there. And this is a product of political choices.”