ELECTION 2015: Kirklees Council party leaders explain why they should get your vote

Election 2015.
Election 2015.
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Have your say

While eyes will be on who is going to be running the country after May 7, there will also be the small matter of council elections on the same day.

A total of 22 ward seats will be up for grabs in Kirklees, with Labour hoping to hold onto their slender grip on power within the council.

We have the statements from each of the four leaders whose parties have representation in Kirklees Council, each explaining why you should vote for their candidates.

For full details of all candidates nominated in your ward, visit www.kirklees.gov.uk/you-kmc/votingElections/index.aspx.

Nicola Turner, Liberal Democrat

The Liberal Democrats are determined to ensure that children, young people, vulnerable and older people are looked after in every one of our communities.

However we recognise that finances are tight for the council at the moment and that choices have to be made about where to prioritise spending.

We believe that the cost of councillors should be reduced in line with everything else and have called on the council to implement our proposals, which would save £72,000 a year.

We want to see communities having a real say in how things are done in their local areas, not Labour’s idea of devolution where all decisions are still made by the cabinet. Labour has wasted £30,000, paid to the four chairs of district committees, to come up with a new way of working. All they have come up with so far is the system we already have!

We are committed to having a plan for local development. Labour has failed to put in place a plan and this has led to developers applying for housing on green field sites. We want to make sure that brown field sites are built on first and that the green belt is protected. We are angry that Labour has found money for fancy lights in St George’s Square, Huddersfield and for a concrete rock in Milnsbridge, whilst at the same time they are threatening to close libraries and stop other essential services like road repairs and street cleaning. Liberal Democrats will make sure that people are listened to and have real influence over what happens in their area.

Andrew Cooper, Green Party

Millions are being cut by Government from Kirklees.

This means we will need to prioritise and think imaginatively about raising income.

1 - Our Top Priority – Social Care. We believe that how we treat people who have the greatest needs is how we should be judged as a society. We will do all we can to protect services

for those in most need.

2 – Protecting our green fields from development. We will push Kirklees hard to establish a Local Plan which will help protect land and the greenbelt.

3 – Getting all Parties to work together. With huge reductions to council budgets we will renew our call for an ‘All Party Cabinet’ following the elections to tackle the huge issues we face due to Government cuts.

4 –Finding new ways for Kirklees to raise income to support local services. Greens have secured a scheme that will allow Kirklees Building Services to provide services to private households. They will be able to service and replace gas boilers, insulate homes and fit solar panels.

5 – An alternative option to Food banks. A successful Green Party proposal will see a new Community Shop established in North Kirklees to help prevent people getting into crisis and be less reliant on Foodbanks. People on low incomes will be able to get surplus food that was going to landfill for a third the usual price.

This will allow families to get back on their feet and will be linked to debt and money advice.

Robert Light, Conservative

After six years of weak, and at times, chaotic Labour leadership, Kirklees Council is on the edge of disaster with no clear plans or vision for the future.

Yes, the council will have less money in the future but that is a reason to change and deliver services differently, not dither and blame the rest of the world.

Kirklees Conservatives are committed to a council which delivers services universally to all residents across the Borough, however we do believe local services should be controlled and provided locally. So instead of centralising control and budgets in Huddersfield as Labour are doing, we will empower local areas by devolving power and budgets to districts which in North Kirklees means two: Dewsbury and Mirfield and Batley and Spen Valley. With services devolved to local districts the need for a large Kirklees bureaucracy to run the council will be no more. We will reduce the cost of senior officers, the expensive support services and the cost of councillors. In addition we will end Labour’s £500,000 a year subsidy to trade unions.

Under Conservative leadership we will ensure your Council Tax is frozen, Kirklees services are provided more efficiently and the council treats all residents across the Borough fairly.

David Sheard - Labour

The future of Kirklees Council and the services it provides will be determined not only by the local election but also by the result of the General Election.

Whatever the result, Kirklees has to change what it does and how it does it. I have seen election leaflets promising more services and lower rates, some people may believe them but most people live in the real world.

The differences between Parties are more distinct now at a local level than has ever been.

The Labour Party is committed to jobs and growth. We believe everyone has a right to a decent home and a decent life. I refuse to apologise for helping those who can’t help themselves or those who have been left behind in this “all in it together society”. We are proud that we have implemented a “living wage” for all Kirklees employees and will continue to fight for a living wage for all residents.

We believe all people are entitled to decent care all through their lives, and despite all the tricks and cuts imposed on us by the coalition government, despite their attack on the north and their favouring of the south east we will continue to help those in most need.

But we refuse to pretend we can do that and protect all services from change. There are no “magic beans”

With some other parties you do not get what it says on the tin.