Monday, 23 April 2012

Why a strong and open for business Labour Council is vital for Hyndburn

This election is about big priorities. Labour is the only Party focussing on what's important to you. Jobs and employment. 300 new jobs at Globe Centre and 200 more at Whitebirk which have recently been announced. In these tough times Tories, Liberals and Independents remain mired in personal ‘park bench’ and ‘firework celebration’ politic of the past that saw Hyndburn slipping ever backwards. Labour's record on jobs stands out; the Party that built the Globe Centre; the Party who built our industrial estates; the Party that will continue to focus on what matters.

Labour are the only Party who have a clear, compelling vision for Hyndburn; jobs, transport, infrastructure. In 11 months Labour has helped secured £9million funding which will reinstate the direct hourly rail link to Manchester giving residents better employment opportunities and opening Hyndburn’s heritage to rail visitors.

Labour has secured £8m for a new Accrington bus station improving bus travel throughout the Borough; brought together the first credible comprehensive retail plan outlined in detail in last week’s Accrington Observer; and revived Great Harwood’s new Health Centre project, a project abandoned by the Tories.

The Tory-led Government is reducing the Councils budget from £17m to £11m - hurting jobs, council services and the local economy. Residents need a Council that can produce a credible budget, no matter how tough - one which focuses on these priorities. Contrast that in February where no other Party brought forward a budget proposition. Reckless Tory promises on leaflets of spend-spend-spend lack responsibility, credibility and the finances to carry them through.

Quite simply this is choice between the credible and the incredible.

Huge and unfair Government cuts have meant Labour has taken decisions to raise some charges; terminate Tory funding of the “Asian” Community Advice Centre; freeze taxi fee's and importantly in tough times set a 0% Council Tax.

The Labour Council has had to clear up the phantom spending regeneration mess totalling £6.9m left by the Conservatives which could only be funded by further bank borrowing and more council debts.When it comes to winning votes, local Conservatives just can't stop spending money they don't have mortgaging future generations to failed projects such as the £700k Hyndburn Life website - scrapped after 6 months, £1.4m spent in the Blackpool Street area on houses they can't sell at a loss or the £10's millions given away on property grants to individuals.

In contrast, following 10 years of Tory neglect, Woodnook is to receive £7m of private money from a pension investment company in a ground breaking deal and £2.3million of 'phasing out money’, ring fenced by the Tory-led Government. Funding local Conservatives are misleading voters on promising to spend it ‘in other areas’.

Labour is the only Party committed to licensing landlords; the only Party committed to beefing up environmental enforcement services and ensuring there are no cuts to front line staff including street cleaning, parks and refuse collection. Last May Labour inherited old and dilapidated bin wagons. A Labour Council will be replace these vehicles.

Labour is committed to the outer townships with improvements in parks, improved street cleaning. In Rishton Labour in it's first month in charge of the Council took long overdue action and demolished old housing on Spring Street left abandoned for years by outgoing Conservatives.

Labour are opposed to local Tory plans to cut police numbers. Only a Labour Council understands the importance of police numbers and will oppose any further Conservative plans for reductions in police or PCSOs in Hyndburn. A Labour Council will protect PCSO funding.

Labour in just eleven months has brought greater transparency over decisions. Members of the public have been given time in public meetings to speak ending years of Tory dictatorship and one man holding court and making all decisions.

Contrast that with the Tories who have been filling their boots with increased personal allowances and where the Conservative leader justified his £43,000+ salary by suggesting "He had to live". Last April before the local elections the Tories promised to reduce their allowances. One month later after the polls had closed they abandoned that pledge and claimed full allowances again. The Independents voted for a cut but their actions have subsequently been inconsistent with what they are telling the electorate.

Labour Councillors by freezing their allowances voluntarily since 2009 have taken more than a 10% cut in real terms.

On the 3rd may Hyndburn can confidently carrying on going forward under a Labour Council or go back to the dark days of Councillor Britcliffe and his Conservatives or return to the mired and confused personal politics and back room deals of Independents of 2010 and 1999 when they held the balance of power.

It's a straight forward choice. A return to a dark Conservative past or alternatively a brighter Labour future. A clear, strong Labour Council or a byzantine, murky Council with Independents playing of all sides.