As Liverpool prepares to vote for its first directly-elected mayor, JMU Journalism aims to talk to all of the candidates to see what they are offering the public. We spoke to John Coyne about his bid.
John Coyne has said he would like to make Liverpool a greener, cleaner and healthier city if elected mayor on 3rd May.
The Green Party councillor and the party’s mayoral candidate said he would be focusing on improving fuel poverty, reducing food wastage and improving houses.
He told JMU Journalism: “We’re hoping to actually involve people to give us their ideas about what they think a Green city would look like.”
Despite the Green Party having opposed the vote in support of the referendum option, the party decided to field a candidate, selecting Coyne at its Spring Conference in Liverpool.
One of Coyne’s radical ideas is to introduce a local currency called the ‘Mersey Pound’ which would be backed by cash in the bank or based on the local
exchange trading system (LETS) model, thus keeping the money circulated and multiplying in the city rather than just flowing directly out.
Born in Liverpool, Coyne became the first elected Green councilor in Liverpool in 2002, representing the St. Michael’s ward. In a bid for transparency Coyne
has published his tax affairs and has challenged the other candidates to do the same.
Coyne has also pledged to tackle the issue of fuel poverty. He said: “What we would like to do is start a massive campaign of insulating houses, particularly
old houses, and that gives you an environmental gain of energy efficiency and it deals with fuel poverty because people will use less fuel.
“We have a proposal of doing that in a way which wouldn’t involve people moving out of their houses.”
Coyne hopes to make Liverpool better connected by improving local rail links. He has said he would divert funds pledged towards HS2 – the proposed high
speed link from London to Manchester through Birmingham – to more conventional rail links, restoring the link from Liverpool to Glasgow, for example.
Coyne has said he would like to reduce the number of councillors from 90 to 60 or less to make the council more efficient. City council tax increases, which go up with inflation, would be presented to people through a referendum.
A Green Mayor, Coyne said in his manifesto, “would be a voice for Liverpool in Britain, in Europe and beyond. We need Liverpool to be a city with a confident vision, to be part of the solution – not part of the problem – of dealing with climate change and the exhaustion of finite resources.”