Sam Smith

Love Me More

Parties make their case before Thursday's Bradford Council elections

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022 11:02pm

By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter

Residents across Keighley and Ilkley will be voting elect district councillors this week - and we've got the election pitches from the main parties.

A third of the seats in Bradford Council’s 90 seat chamber will be up for grabs, with the results expected to be announced on Friday afternoon.

We asked each of the four main parties fielding candidates in multiple seats for a statement on what they feel are the main issues for this election.

LABOUR
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of the Bradford District Labour Group, said: “We know residents are really worried about the national cost of living crisis, so are we. Wages are falling against a backdrop of high inflation.

“The Tories are in denial about the difficulties people are facing. Out of touch, they have no plan to address this crisis.

“With Labour councillors, it’s not just talk, it’s action. We are people who get things done in our communities. We are investing more of the council’s budget in those services that you tell us matter to you – waste and recycling, cleaning up the streets, tackling fly tipping, working with the police to tackle antisocial behaviour, improving the local environment.

“Despite government’s failure to deliver on its levelling up promises, we want to build a strong pandemic recovery, which is why we are investing in our Future Boost programme. Future Boost has supported more than 1,100 young people to access opportunities and another 500 young people have started Kickstart paid work placements through our award-winning SkillsHouse scheme. What’s more 34,964 children have been attending holiday clubs across the district.

“Under a Labour council, you can be assured that the major regeneration and heritage renewal we have begun will continue at pace – the former Odeon is being turned into top class music venue Bradford Live and we are building a fantastic new market at Darley Street. Across the district we are progressing plans for first rate health facilities in the heart of Keighley, investing in improvements to the market square in Shipley town centre and preparing four bids into the Levelling up Fund including one for Bingley town centre.

“We are a key worker city which cares. People of the Bradford District have shown great strength and compassion throughout the pandemic, working on the frontline, helping out neighbours and volunteering in communities. Bradford has been praised nationally for its response to Covid. Labour councillors are proud of Bradford District and the contribution we make to this great country of ours. Local Conservatives on the other hand constantly talk our district down and try to set neighbour against neighbour.

“We are a big, bold and beautiful place. Together each of the district’s towns and villages has a contribution to make in creating a successful economy.

“So on May 5th vote Labour for a positive future for our district, not for an out of touch Tory party which sells Bradford short every time.”

CONSERVATIVES
The Conservative Group on the Council believes that whilst the seemingly never ending catalogue of failures that has resulted in Childrens’ Services leaving the Council’s control, is the most visible failing of Labour control of the council, there are many other examples of poor policies and hence services. We would therefore look to review much of what currently happens.

Better Value Services: Council tax under Bradford’s Labour Council has risen by roughly 30% over the last seven years whilst services have seen cuts of £ 200m. There would be lower Council Tax increases under a Conservative Council despite, doubling extra support for Children’s Services to £15m and improving other services.

Support To Children: A Conservative Leadership would focus on working with the Commissioner who is to take over running Childrens’ Services, they were deemed to be failing and removed from the control of the Labour Council after a series of damning inspection findings since 2018. We would aim to see the rapid improvements in services which Labour have failed to deliver to our children, from improving educational attainment, to improving social care protection of the most vulnerable children.

Brownfield not Greenbelt: Focus on building housing where it’s needed not on greenbelt sites. Proper infrastructure where development happens such as road improvements, schools, doctors, green spaces

Look After our Environment: Use technology for EV charging options and improve energy efficiency in all homes

Local Projects Fund £1.25 million: Create a locally managed fund for small local works to get work completed quickly

Local decision making with local accountability

Ensuring that the Council bids for all available government grants, such as the Towns Fund, which hasn’t always happened under the Labour Council.

Support Business and Invest Across the whole District

Review the Clean Air Zone rollout that is a tax on business

Maximise Government Funding such as Levelling Up, by having projects ready to proceed

Free evening parking across the District

Targeted support to our high streets and local retail areas

Zero-Tolerance on Anti-Social Behaviour

Focus on enforcement of fly tipping: Use technology to make reporting and enforcement easier to do.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
On the doorstep voters are telling us about the issues they want fixing. High levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, poor basic services such as dirty streets, over-flowing bins, pot-holes and broken street-lights. Better care and support for vulnerable children and adults, improve the natural environment and less dumping of sewage in the rivers. Local access to advice and help, fewer empty homes and more housing they can afford to rent or buy.

These challenges cannot be solved by the Council giving away cash, cutting services or limiting who can have them or as we often hear from the Council Leader “It’s all the fault of the Government”. In the main people want the Council to just get the basics right. People just want basic Council services delivered well. They want to live in clean, safe, well maintained spaces. People want to feel secure and able to get prompt help when they need it, that our vulnerable neighbours are safe and that every child and young person will have a good start in life.

Liberal Democrats believe that these changes can be made by investing in the things that matter to people, the real issues being raised on the doorstep. To make this happen Liberal Democrats will create local assemblies and partnerships tasked with delivering on Neighbourhood Plans to be scrutinised by residents. We will direct real budgets to support plans and campaign outside the Council for the money to deliver those changes local people want to see from the Police and Health Services for example. You can find out about the Liberal Democrat Plans to change your neighbourhood at www.bradfordlibdems.org.uk

With elections just days away, every candidate will say they want a better future for our children. Every candidate will claim they can reduce crime and keep vulnerable children safe but with one exception. Labour party politicians hold the positions of the Mayor, The Police and Crime Commissioner, the Leader of the Council and represent our area in Parliament. It is clear to us that even with this amount of power they have proved they cannot deliver for our children, don’t have the answers to tackle crime and cannot get the easy jobs done like street cleaning and lighting.

As you put your cross in the box, you decide. Our view is clear, local priorities, local plans, local action. We hope it will be yours.

GREEN
We are being let down by politics. The national government is an embarrassment, the official opposition are failing to do their job and now the cost of living is rising faster than many of us can cope with.

Closer to home, Bradford residents are being let down by our Labour-run council. Whether it is their failure to manage children services or their failure to communicate clearly with residents about our clean air zone – we can’t go on like this.
Green councillors are already getting things done for their areas. We have a track record of standing up for our communities and prioritising what matters to local residents.

We have joined community groups fighting to save green spaces from being lost to housing developments. Instead, we have pushed for the new homes we need to be built on the many brownfield sites across our district crying out for redevelopment.
We have consistently opposed the damaging plans to build new roads and widen existing ones. Instead we need to invest in public transport and make it easier for people to get around our district on foot or by bike.

We are pushing for action to tackle the litter and fly-tipping crisis across our district. We would be much tougher on rogue waste collection traders who collect waste for a fee and then fly-tip it in other parts of the district.

We need immediate action on the cost of living crisis. Locally, we would set up a single cost of living crisis team to help support residents who are at breaking point. Nationally, we would invest billions in helping everyone make their homes more energy efficient – which will reduce bills in the long term – all funded by a windfall tax on big energy companies.

We would support our high streets by making them cleaner, safer and more appealing to local shoppers to encourage people to shop locally.

Our district needs a fresh start and fresh ideas to take us forward. Labour have let us down and the Conservatives have shown they can’t be trusted.

So it’s time for a new type of politics. On Thursday May 5th, Vote Green.

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