Many of you may not be paying a huge amount of attention to the fact we have all out council elections in Preston on Thursday, May 2nd. However, who runs the city council and in whose interests is vitally important to everyone here.Advertisement
The reason local government elections are often seen as less relevant is due to recent Conservative led governments with support from the Lib Dem’s reducing resources available to councils to make the changes needed to improve your lives. This is compounded by their support for a national economic model working in the interests of the top one per cent.
Labour is the only party in Preston with the courage to follow a different set of rules and values. We are the only party buzzing with new ideas with other parties expecting your vote without releasing local manifestos explaining what they would do if they won power in recent Preston City Council elections. In contrast, the party I am proud to lead has 48 forward thinking and committed Labour candidates dedicated to improve your city with a clear and coherent vision.
Labour realises the challenges in Preston are so significant we cannot skirt around the edges but must work collaboratively to bring meaningful change to benefit the many, not the few. Some of you will have heard of the Preston Model. Labour will take this further by encouraging even more large place based institutions like the NHS along with the council to buy from local businesses and hire people in areas of unemployment. This will enhance the £75m extra each year spent by the local public sector with organisations based in Preston.
Labour led Preston City Council was the first employer in the north of England to pay the real living wage of at least £9 an hour. We are proud Labour’s action has contributed to nearly 60 Living Wage employers operating in Preston with our city now the best area in Lancashire for people receiving the real living wage who work here. Going forward we aim to become one of the UK’s first Living Wage Places targeting large employers yet to sign up.
Many families are struggling with the cost of living and a Labour run administration will explore how the council can play a role in providing affordable housing again, continue our holiday markets offering free or low cost food to Preston families and look to fill gaps where there is no free or low cost breakfast provision offering help in a time of austerity. It is estimated families using our holiday markets, for example, can save up to £30 a week on essential food bills.
We realise Preston has lost out to large banks and corporations often headquartered in the Square Mile with much of our wealth ending offshore in tax havens. Labour is establishing with partners the first regional customer owned bank in the north west and helping new worker owned businesses spring up to challenge this wealth extraction. Our new cooperative bank will lend £500m across the region in the long term to local businesses and individuals with a branch presence planned for our high street.
Labour will continue the regeneration of our city centre with a major new cinema and restaurant development in the Markets Quarter creating hundreds of new jobs and invest significantly in the Harris as the UK’s only blended Library, Museum and Art Gallery. Combined with the opening of The Shankly this summer this will move Preston firmly on from Tithebarn.
Labour will encourage a live and let live feel across Preston by supporting arts and culture including popular events like Lancashire Encounter, Rockprest and Race for Life and work tirelessly to promote a diverse and inclusive community where everyone matters with racism and all forms of discrimination tackled at a time official statistics show hate crime rising across the U.K.
Finally, Labour will protect and seek to improve the vital services you rely on like street cleaning, refuse collection, licensing and our wonderful parks. We will do this by ensuring value for money for the local taxpayer whilst ensuring none of our senior management are paid a basic salary of more than £100,000 a year with overall reductions of £250,000 planned in senior management costs.
These policies put together contributed to Preston declared the most improved city in the U.K. for economic well-being in November last year. Labour is passionate and eager to build on those achievements further. For this to happen we need you to support your three Labour candidates on Election Day on Thursday May 2nd. We can then work together to build the forward thinking and confident Preston we want to see.
Please use all your votes for Labour on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019. Our manifesto PRESTON FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW can be viewed here.
This is a guest piece by Preston Labour leader Matthew Brown. We’re giving each party a chance to outline their vision for the city and why you should vote for them.
Here’s what Preston Conservatives had to say.
Here’s what Preston Lib Dems had to say.
Here’s what UKIP Preston had to say.
You can see a full list of Preston local election candidates.