Leeds prepares for 2024 local elections as parties have their say

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by Don Mort, local democracy reporter

Additional reporting: John Baron

Political parties in Leeds have set out their cases to the electorate on the eve of the 2024 Leeds local elections.

WLD has already published the profiles of candidates standing in the six wards in West Leeds. Check them out by following the links below:

The candidates for Mayor of West Yorkshire can be seen here.

Parties have issued statements setting out their agendas ahead of the vote tomorrow (May 2).

Labour

The Labour group, which controls Leeds City Council, said the vote was the last chance people have to make their voices heard before the next general election

Councillor James Lewis, Leeds Labour leader, said: “We are building new council houses and supporting people sleeping rough. We have raised the wages of some of the lowest paid in Leeds and are working to protect social care from Tory cuts and the Tory cost-of-living crisis.

“We are tackling fly-tipping with an environmental crime unit, and are proud that 99 per cent of all waste in Leeds is either recycled or converted into energy and from the summer glass will be able to go into our green bins later this year.

“All this despite the fact that since 2010, the Conservatives have cut £2.7bn from Leeds. This is money that could have spent on caring for older people and children, potholes, our parks, bins and street cleaning and more. The Conservatives chose to take that money away from our communities and we face the consequences.

“We’ll continue to protect public services in this city, and with our Labour mayor Tracy Brabin we are replacing the police the Tories have cut from our streets.

“We need your support to do all this, and continue to work hard for a fairer, cleaner and greener Leeds. Vote Labour on Thursday 2 May.”

Conservative

Alan Lamb, leader of the city’s Conservative group, said: “The local election is an important opportunity to choose who represents you on Leeds City Council and ultimately, who runs the city.

“It’s a challenging time with funding tight but all too often, the Labour run Council are choosing the wrong priorities. Was £11.5m on a year of culture worth it? Was it better to close off City Square than fix our crumbling roads? Labour have run up huge debts in the city and next year £1 in every £5 will be spent servicing this.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. Your vote on Thursday won’t change anything nationally but it could change what is delivered locally.

“If you want a council who will focus on the basics such as fixing the roads, emptying the bins, keeping our parks and streets clean and safe and managing your council tax carefully, please support our excellent Conservative Councillors to keep working for you, your community and our amazing city.”

Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat group leader Stewart Golton said people could send out a powerful message, but only if they turn out and vote.

He said: “Parties who have been in charge too long run out of ideas and are more interested in staying in control than doing the right thing. Labour has been in control of our buses, our police, our roads, our parks, our housing estates, our waste collection and care services for 15 years, and frankly they have failed.

“When Liberal Democrats ran Leeds City Council and chaired the local Transport Authority we had more bus services, more PCSOs on our streets, we recycled more, we built the Arena, Council tax was lower, and we didn’t overspend our budgets. Vote Liberal Democrat for the change we need for a fair deal for every part of Leeds.”

Green Party

The Green Party has been represented on Leeds City Council for 26 years. Group leader David Blackburn said: “Coming up with innovative ideas to deal with the real problems of today. Making our homes more energy efficient, thus reducing bills. Supporting local generation of renewables putting solar panels on our roofs. Fighting against the development of green field land which are the lungs of our city.

“We Greens are allowed to think for ourselves. We are not controlled by a centralised whipping structure.

“By electing more Greens, it will allow us to put pressure on the old outdated political parties who like Nero, fiddle while Rome burns.

“If you are serious about the future, want a world that is fit for your our children and our children’s children, then support your local Green Candidate.”

SDP

The Social Democratic Party said it was one of the fastest-growing parties in the country, and free of vested interests.

Middleton Park SDP councillor Wayne Dixon said: “SDP councillors get free votes on everything. We represent our communities and the city of Leeds at large.

“SDP councillors get things done. We get results –  securing the rebuild of Broomfield school, developing our local sports clubs, improving the environment by keeping our streets clean and getting the basics sorted!  We all live in our communities.  That’s important.

“An SDP council would improve people’s lives by resisting waste and getting the basics done – the bins emptied, the streets cleaned, supporting the most vulnerable in our city. Crucially, we will be a voice to hold our West Yorkshire Mayor to account for the lack of Policing and poor public transport.”

Alliance for Green Socialism

The Alliance for Green Socialism said global heating was the biggest threat to human society.

Chapel Allerton candidate Mike Davies said: “The gross inequality of capitalism causes poverty, sickness, conflict and death. The two problems are intertwined. Capitalism depends on endless unlimited growth, impossible on a single planet. The search for a quick profit generates pollution, greenhouse gases and destruction.

“We need democratic green socialism – for all our sakes For Leeds we need a Clean Air Zone to protect people and their children. Real action now on the climate crisis

“An economy for all, not just a tiny minority. Proper jobs, not zero hours contracts. Taxes the rich actually have to pay. Public education, not academies

“National Health publicly owned, funded, and run. Cheap public transport, publicly owned and run.

“Genuinely affordable housing for all. Stop racism, stop Israeli genocide in Gaza

Stop the closure of Little Owls Nurseries. adult social care and a properly funded public NHS.”

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition said councillors should be working with unions to fight for the resources needed by the city.

Iain Dalton, TUSC candidate for Gipton and Harehills, said: “At present we’re seeing working people’s lives upended by a Labour council doing the Tories’ dirty work.

“Parents and carers at Little Owls Nurseries and creatives at Aire Street Workshops have faced closure proposals with the council refusing to even provide them with the documents these decisions are based on, let alone properly consult them.

“Both proposals should be shelved, using the councils reserves and borrowing powers to keep them open and buy time to build campaigns to secure the necessary funding. We need proper funding for public services, not more tax breaks for the super-rich or spending on wars around the globe.”

Yorkshire Party

The Yorkshire Party said it planned to regenerate derelict sites with new housing, leading to lower property prices and rents.

The Yorkshire Party’s Bob Buxton said: “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. I’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 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. Burglaries, shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and road crime have been allowed to rise. No crimes should be tolerated.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. MR Blackburn has sorely neglected Farnley and Wortley for 26 years. Make way for someone who can actually do some good!

  2. Local elections are for councillors for local matters. Forget the national matters. Those are for the General Election, whenever that is. You’re voting for someone today who will give you value for money with your council tax, keeping costs down but with good local services, such as bin collection, local road improvements, sensible parking, good local bus services,
    maintaining our green belts and green land by only utilising ‘brownfield’ land for building. You are not voting for national issues which councillors have no control over. Vote for who is best for our local communities and forget the national issues for now.

  3. How on earth can you forget the national issues when this Tory government has starved local councils of resources for 14 years. Send a message to Sunak and his crew by voting against the Conservatives today!

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