Tackling the cost of living, dealing with rogue landlords and encouraging local grow-it projects feature in Kirklees Labour party plans.
The party launched its election manifesto ahead of the May 22 local election - when nine current Labour councillors will seek re-election and party candidates will contest the remaining seats.
Key for the party is getting the council and residents through tough economic times.
Clr David Sheard, leader, said the party is “proud” of all it’s achieved but recognise that in times of austerity a new approach - and a new council - is needed.
Pledges include keeping the Kirklees pound in Kirklees and bring more empty homes into use.
Community ideas they’re putting forward include support for grow-it eat-it projects and encouraging community funding bids to get more money circulating.
Clr Sheard said: “In our manifesto we’ve tried to get a good mix of the many things we’re trying to do, we wanted it to be positive rather than knocking what others want, this is about what we will do.”
Asked if the aims are all achievable, Clr Sheard said: “Everything we’ve put in can be done, but with some difficulty, we acknowledge that.
“We have aspirations and we hope that despite the difficult times we can achieve them all.”
Boosting business is key - the party says it will design council contracts to encourage bids from local small and medium sized businesses. The council already procures 49% of services locally.
They’ll back ethical alternatives to Pay Day lenders and move towards the Living Wage, plus invest in technology so businesses are not hampered by slow broadband speeds.
But it won’t be an easy task and the manifesto accepts they need to be honest about the cuts they face and how they will deal with them.
By 2017 Kirklees will have £129m less to spend a year than it did in 2010 - a 37% cut.
The community will have to play a part and “take over services we can no longer afford” they add.
The party wants to invest what it can in highway repairs, but government funding has reduced by 58% to £8.6m since 2009 and so they pledge to lobby for more money.
They will offer council buildings for use or take over by community groups.
Housing issues are key too - they want to bring more empty properties back into use, root out rogue landlords and stop families being “ripped off”.
To achieve that, they will lobby the government to lift capital borrowing restrictions to improve the supply of affordable housing.
Clr Sheard explained: “We’ve restrictions on borrowing but our aim is build more affordable houses, we’re thankful for whatever we can get, but we do need more.”
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