With fewer than 100 days to the local and general elections, policies are being announced and candidates are knocking on doors to win your vote.
Kirklees Labour Party has launched its manifesto for the council and ideas include building a minimum of 500 new council houses over the next four years; bringing in the Living Wage for council staff; and investing in town centres to create jobs and a vibrant local economy.
The manifesto revolves around five topics; economic resilience; early intervention and prevention; communities and wellbeing; housing; poverty and inequality.
The Living Wage, £7.85 per hour, will be put before councillors next month to be introduced in April if backed.
Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for Resources, said: “We believe it is the right thing to do, we want to help the lowest paid staff.”
Asked if he thought an idea backed by Brent Council to give a business rate cut to firms paying the living wage was workable in Kirklees, Clr Turner said: “I like the sound of it, but I think we have got to lead by example, we can’t possibly put any pressure on other firms to pay the Living Wage if we don’t. And we need to look at the costs of it to see how workable it is.”
Other ideas are to give preference to local suppliers, producers and manufacturers for goods and services used by the council, promote local supply chains and keep the Kirklees pound in Kirklees.
Clr Turner said: “There is lots we can do to support businesses, we have land so we can look at land use to see if it can potentially help firms to expand or relocate to more suitable premises.
“We have land for housing, we all recognise we need more affordable housing and while it’s not something we can do alone, we want to work with partners to do what we can to meet the demand.
Specialist provision for older and disabled people also features, with wider support for vulnerable and an aging population key to the future of the council.
Clr Turner admits the most ambitious part of the manifesto relates to economic resilience.
He said: “There is still work to be done on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority around investment and jobs, but we believe working with others throughout the region will really benefit us here.
“Getting major investment to the region will make Kirklees stronger, it will provide jobs for our residents and it will improve the local economy.”
Clr Turner says he hopes people will feel the benefits of their ideas soon, with a recent change to council tax support helping low-income households retain more of their money from April.
Although Labour runs Kirklees Council with its 32 councillors, the opposition of 37 councillors in the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Green and Valley Independents - means they are without overall control.
Clr Turner added: “Clearly it would be much easier to do all we want if we had control of the council and we hope in May our excellent candidates will be elected to the council and help us continue with our plans.”