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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Parties make their case ahead of elections

On Thursday people across the district will go to the polls to vote in the local elections – where 30 of the 90 seats on Bradford Council will be up for grabs.

Like many councils, Bradford operates on a system where every council seat is up for grabs each four-year cycle.

Three of those years will include an election where a third of seats are contested, with a fourth year with no local elections.

The elections take place on Thursday, with the count beginning at 10am on Friday. The results should all be in by mid to late Friday afternoon.

In Bradford, 152 candidates are running for the 30 available seats, with Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Greens fielding candidates in all wards.

Ahead of the elections the Local Democracy Reporting Service asked all the parties fielding 10 or more candidates to send a statement to potential voters to let them know why they should vote for their candidates.

Bradford District Labour Group said: “As Labour councillors we care deeply about our local communities and it is a real privilege to serve. Our priorities are shaped by what you tell us you want to see. Clean and safe streets, better transport, more jobs and opportunities for our young people. These are the things we are getting on with delivering.

“Household budgets are stretched by the national cost of living crisis with many families feeling the impact of the Tory mismanagement of the economy which has led to higher rents and mortgages, food and utility bills. As a Labour Council we have rolled out extensive support for those hit hardest, such as warm spaces for older people, free activities for children during school holidays and our joint work with foodbanks and charities to get help where it’s needed.

“Given the challenges of the nation’s economy, it’s all the more vital we have a Labour Council getting on and delivering regeneration all across the district. Our residents tell us they want things to be different, they want a better future. That’s why we are working hard to deliver the positive change we all want to see, for a clean, green, attractive place to live and work.

“The investment in regeneration and culture by the council and our partners will create jobs, improve opportunities and grow the economy. Our year as UK City of Culture will be a brilliant celebration by the whole district, for the district, whilst bringing millions in investment.

“A vote for your local Labour councillor on May 2 is a vote for someone who cares passionately about your local area.”

A Conservative Party Spokesperson said: “I cannot think of a time when there have been more reasons to vote local Conservative candidates onto Bradford Council.

“Over the last few years, the Council’s Children’s Social Care has consistently been so poor that the responsibility for delivering the service has been handed to a Trust. This didn’t come after a single or small number of incidents, the council was given ample opportunity to turn the service around but simply weren’t up to the challenge.

“The council’s budgeting for Children’s Services was not given priority over less important responsibilities, even when it became apparent that they were in a downward spiral. They well and truly took their eye off the ball.

“The knock-on consequences of the Council’s mismanagement of its finances is now coming home to roost.

“The closure of Household Waste Recycling Centres will cause massive inconvenience and no doubt a sharp increase in fly tipping, blighting our streets and open areas and costing a small fortune for the council and numerous businesses to clear up.  Only the Conservatives put forward an alternate plan to keep them all open.

“Libraries are at risk and the cost of using Council leisure facilities are set to rise way above inflation, as will everything provided by the Council. I dread to think what is to happen with parking charges and let’s not forget that Council Tax bills are going to soar to pay for far less services, as the Council repays the half a billion pounds that it is going to have to borrow over the next few years.

“The other “opposition” parties on the council usually vote in support of the Labour budget proposals, so a vote for anyone other than Conservative candidates is a vote for more chaos”.

A Green Party Spokesman said: “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 a Labour-run council that jumps from one crisis to another. Whether it is their failure to manage children services, the chaos with buses in the city centre and the uncertainty with Bradford Live. Our district cannot 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 residents.

“Whilst Labour are closing tips, Greens 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 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.

“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.

“Our high streets are struggling and there is a clear lack of proper planning to make our city centre and town centres work for small businesses and most importantly – the people of Bradford. 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.”

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “Liberal Democrat Candidates across the district have been speaking to residents and one thing is clear. They are fed up with broken promises from the Conservatives in Government and repeated failure by Bradford’s Labour-run Council.

“A Council borrowing hundreds of millions to avoid bankruptcy, a city centre in chaos and years of failing to protect the most vulnerable combined with the almost daily chaos of a Conservative government that crashed the economy and is too scared to give people a chance for change. Labour’s failure to balance the budget has put pools, libraries, and many services at risk but the council’s Labour leaders continue to downplay the failures, cover up bad news and bury their heads in the sand.

“Liberal Democrat candidates across the district are focused on three key areas. Tackling crime, protecting public services, and improving our local environment.

“We’re campaigning for more Police and resources to tackle crime. Liberal Democrats will tackle this head-on investing in enforcement officers, working with Police and other authorities to crack down on hotspots of trouble and focusing resources and services on the source of the problem.

“Liberal Democrats would re-focus the Council’s neighbourhood services to ensure every area has environmental wardens and we would invest in fixing up the public realm in every neighbourhood.

Don’t let Labour off the hook. On Thursday, make sure you vote them out and support the Liberal Democrats on Thursday and help us to deliver for our district.”

A Yorkshire Party spokesman said: “We’ll regenerate derelict sites with new housing – more homes mean lower rents and prices. All new buildings need solar panels and proper insulation, and we’ll retrofit existing homes – reducing the cost-of-living.

“New homes need new infrastructure, GPs, dentists, schools and transport.

“Many people find it difficult to find a home, especially without a long record of having paid rent. We’ll introduce a rent-guarantor scheme, to bring tenants and landlords together.

“We need a West Yorkshire Metro, with elevated and underground sections, to cut through congestion. It will deliver quicker journeys than trams and buses.

“We’ll introduce a Yorkshire Travel Pass, delivering the best deals for trains and buses – no peak time hikes, no cross-border penalties, no need for advanced booking.

“Police must uphold the law without fear or favour and no crimes should be tolerated.

“Burglaries, shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and road crime have been allowed to rise.

“We’ll increase frontline policing by cutting down on tick-box training courses, which will free up 27,000 police-days a year.

“We will also encourage better social cohesion, with more intercommunity events and youth centres.

“Only the Yorkshire Party will give Bradford and the whole county new leadership and new ambition. Your votes can force London-based parties to take our problems seriously, and provide stronger local powers and fairer investment in transport, housing and crime prevention.

“Yorkshire Party” is the best tactical vote you can make.”

There are also numerous candidates running as independents, and other parties represented in the candidate list include Reform UK, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, British Democrats, Social Democrats, and UKIP – Protect Free Speech.

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