Elected in 2022 Local Elections minesh-parekh-labour-councillor-crookes

Minesh Parekh

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Hi, I’m Minesh Parekh. I’m a climate activist and local campaigner.

I first came to Sheffield as a student in 2011, and since then have worked extensively in the charity and not-for-profit sector in research and policy roles, and as a campaign organiser for the Labour Party.

I’m proud to be the Labour and Co-operative candidate for Crookes and Crosspool this May, and to be given an opportunity to push for more action on housing, public transport, and the climate and ecological emergency.

What do you think makes a good local councillor?

To me, so many of the crises we face—the housing crisis, economic inequality, the climate emergency, to name a few—exist precisely because we have a lack of democracy, that we haven’t had democratic control over our economy.

A good local councillor is someone that will look to extend democracy, make systems of governance accessible to everyone, and devolve power to local communities, so that everyone is able to change their own surroundings—and not just those at the top.

Tell us three things you're aiming to focus on or achieve for your ward during your term as councillor

1. As a student I spent four years in inadequate student housing in Crookes, with one of the worst houses having a gaping crack in its kitchen ceiling for six months, and a landlord unwilling to sort it. I want to bring in landlord licensing to regulate the housing market and ensure all homes are up to a liveable, habitable standard.

2. The climate crisis is global, but our response must begin locally. I want local action to tackle the crisis, such as community-led energy generation and retrofitted council housing, as well as measures to make our neighbourhoods greener and more pleasant, such as better active travel infrastructure and tree-lined streets,

3. As well as citywide projects to reduce emissions at scale, I want to create local, long-standing initiatives to build a greener and fairer world. I plan to work with local schools to establish a ‘climate action’ club, and to embed cycling proficiency training programmes in schools across my ward.

Tell us three things you're aiming to focus on or achieve for the city of Sheffield during your term as councillor

1. Community wealth building is a way to redirect wealth back into Sheffield’s economy. Rather than offering council contracts to multinationals, we should prioritise local businesses, co-operatives and social enterprises priority and give them support to bid for contracts. We should look to rebuild a fairer local economy.

2. I completely support our adoption of the Committee System, and introduction of Local Area Committees, and would like Sheffield to enthusiastically pursue a greater devolution of power. I believe we should work towards participatory budget making—handing decision making power back to local people, to set our priorities.

3. Building on the work of Sheffield Renewables, we should kickstart a local renewable revolution to help Sheffield transition away from fossil fuels, delivering savings for households, local businesses, and municipal buildings—we should have solar panels on every school, library, hospital and community centre.

Transport: “Air pollution contributes to 500 deaths a year in Sheffield. Living alongside a busy road carries the same risk as passively smoking 10 cigarettes a day.”. Supported by better public transport and disabled accessibility, do you think private motor traffic should eventually be excluded from Sheffield city centre?

  • Yes
  • Unsure
  • No

If you'd like to add details on your position, please do so here

Back in the 19th century Edward Carpenter wrote of the need to destroy the ‘smoke dragon’ that plagued England’s towns and cities. The scourge of air pollution has been allowed to remain for far too long, and we need to see radical and decisive action to tackle it.

Until we can build a world with electric buses and taxis free at the point of use there will still be a need for private cars, but we should be making it as feasible as possible for people to shift away from cars, by improving public transport.

We should look to introduce bus franchising as soon as possible, and ultimately work towards bringing buses back under public ownership, so that routes and fares can be set democratically, rather than what’s most profitable for bus companies.

I would like to see Sheffield’s trams brought back into public ownership, rather than franchised to Stagecoach, so that these can be integrated with our buses and provided a joined-up public transport system

Housing: "The introduction of Selective Licensing can bring widespread benefits to the local community. In particular it will ensure that all private rented property within the designated area is safe and well managed". Do you think Landlord Licensing in Sheffield should be extended, from currently applying to Abbeydale Road, Chesterfield Road and London Road, to covering more wards?

  • Yes
  • Unsure
  • No

If you'd like to add details on your position, please do so here

The housing charity Shelter have reported that a third of privately rented homes fail to meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard. No one should have to live in a house that’s damp, has broken appliance, or where the heating doesn’t work, especially while paying over the odds to do so. Unfortunately, this is the reality for far too many in our city.

As a renter, I know how pressing this issue is. Once elected I will campaign for citywide landlord licensing, so that we can improve housing standards across the city, tackle the epidemic of poor-quality rental housing and give private renters a voice.

If you'd like to add details on your position, please do so here

I support the principles underpinning our LACs and would like to see them further developed. I believe it is the role of local councillors to devolve power back to the people they represent; that we should be building a more participatory democracy. I believe that the LACs are one venue through which we can pursue this – by ensuring that through them we offer a real, tangible, devolution of budget-setting power to local people, rather than just to local councillors.

If you'd like to add details on your position, please do so here

I wholeheartedly support Sheffield pursuing community wealth building.

Across the country there are fantastic Labour Councils that are employing a CWB strategy. Preston’s procurement strategy has reinvested >£70m into Preston’s economy, >£200m into the Lancashire’s, helped 400 local businesses to pay a real living wage, and built a more democratic local economy. Their plans to build a publicly-owned cinema and leisure complex are something we should aspire to.

In North Ayrshire, they have built community-owned wind and solar farms, helping to lower the bills of municipal services, and letting them sell off excess energy to other anchor institutions and reinvest profits back into public services.

We need to build a more democratic local economy. This means:
• employing a community wealth building strategy;
• establishing a land commission to map land ownership;
• insourcing contracts and services to end privatisation;
• more democratic municipal ownership of the local economy

View the Labour and Co-operative Party policies