LEADERS of the Conservative and Labour parties in Hyndburn plead for your votes on May 3 ...
CONSERVATIVE - Peter Britcliffe:
HYNDBURN Council has delivered an impressive performance in the last 12 months and is now in the top 25 per cent of district councils. These are not my words; they are the words of the Government's independent auditors. The words are true. The Conservative council's financial record during recent times is impressive. Four years ago after a period of Labour rule the council was dropping into a £2M black hole. Only rigid financial control by the Conserv-atives has turned the situation around. In a short time the Conservatives have created a strong council with a surplus of £500,000 and reserves approaching £1M. As a result we're able to deliver our promise that what is important to you is important to us and to make your priorities our priorities.
YOU told us you wish to feel safer. The Conservatives have worked with the police to bring in 19 new police community support officers. They are aided by 20 new CCTV cameras at sites you have determined. We are working with the police to pilot dispersal orders in trouble spots. The first one is proving successful and crime is plummeting. People tell me they feel safer. Over £250,000 has been spent, and if people feel better I am sure you will agree it is worthwhile.
YOU told us you wanted to see more support for the young and elderly. Due to strong finances we have put £200,000 into energy efficiency grants for those aged 60 or over. The grant is not means-tested and £250 is available for any energy-efficient installation such as double-glazing or loft insulation. A few weeks ago we were able to support Age Concern in keeping open its café in Accrington town centre. The young have not been forgotten and among a range of reductions in sports charges, free swimming has been introduced during holiday periods. At Easter 1,500 children took advantage.
YOU told us you wanted Hyndburn to be a more attractive place to live. Cleanliness of the borough is a priority and through a range of options including penalty fines, areas of acceptable cleanliness have increased from 70 per cent to 84 per cent. We will continue to invest to improve even more. Area councils have brightened up the winter months with Christmas decorations. This year we have introduced our "Floral Market Town Initiative'' which will add immense colour during the summer months. If the borough looks better we all feel better.
AND finally, it is easy to sit back and take things for granted. Hyndburn is moving up the league, regeneration is all around, the council is leaner and greener and most importantly finances are sound. Let's keep it that way - by voting for the Conservatives on 3 May you will ensure another giant step in the right direction. I'm always happy to hear from you, please call me on 380165 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
LABOUR - Graham Jones:
THE last two months it has been nice to get out around other parts of the borough and meet different people on the doorsteps listening to what they have to say. I believe politics isn't just about meetings, resolutions or newspaper headlines, it is about real people's concerns. We have brought forward ideas to improve the lives of residents.
- Free sports pitches, free holiday swimming for children, half-price pitches for adults and free bowls for pensioners. A new idea, a new direction but an old philosophy that friendship and participation make us happier and healthier.
- The biggest blighted sites policy the borough has seen. Through area councils using old legislation, we will begin a huge direct action policy against eyesore or derelict buildings, run-down houses and gardens, spoiled or littered land in your neighbourhood. The Conservatives said it couldn't be done but we have successfully demonstrated it can.
- Community wardens across Hyndburn. A uniformed presence, zero tolerance. Every resident complaint logged, reported and actioned with the resident as customer getting a reply. Clean streets is our number one priority.
- A long-term comprehensive energy supply and climate change strategy working in partnership with Woking Borough Council, the UK's leading council on environmental and energy policies. Compare this to the Tories' green policy of squeezing teabags.
- Our proposal, adopted by Conservatives, to rebrand our towns as market towns. We successfully opposed the Market Hall sell-off. We will build a new bus station and we will consider business requests for a roof over Broadway.
WE CANNOT just ignore the problems of the current Conservative council which has had seven years in power.
- They have promised to clean up the streets. Hyndburn this year is officially the dirtiest borough in East Lancashire and the fifth dirtiest in the whole North West. More cleansing staff and community wardens borough-wide will help tackle this.
- Thirty five per cent rises in six years in council tax. We need to keep council tax down and make better use of existing resources. We also need to review how a Conservative council announced it had a £1.8M black hole and is allowed to get away with blaming Labour.
- We have to stop crackpot schemes that waste money. Unbelievably £600,000 of taxpayers' money was wasted on a website which was abandoned after 10 months by the Conservatives. Improving the council's audit and scrutiny are vital. It's not a social club and it's not Monopoly money.
WE will work closely with taxi drivers and clean up the Taxi Licensing Committee following the sex offender scandals. A lot of regeneration has happened in Hyndburn. Over £90M, all funded by the Government. It is wrong for Conservative councillors to portray these schemes as a result of their policies in the local newspapers week after week. It is dishonest politics. It shouldn't be like this. On 3 May you have the chance to put real people's concerns before newspaper headlines. It's time for change.
How they line up:
HYNDBURN'S voters go to the polls next Thursday with the result hanging on a knife edge.
The Conservatives are currently in control with 18 seats, just two seats ahead of Labour which has 16, with one Independent.
The borough is one of Labour's top target seats in the country and a succession of Cabinet ministers, including Home Secretary John Reid, have visited to support the campaign.
But buoyed by national opinion polls, the Tories are confidently of holding on or even increasing their majority.
Labour needs to win just two seats to take overall control.
The Conservatives are defending seven seats and Labour five.
The two other candidates are ex-Mayor and Labour councillor Dave Parkin, who is standing as an Independent and could split the Labour vote in Huncoat, and Green Kerry Gormley in Barnfield.
The line-up is:
Miles Parkinson (Lab)
Simon Taylor (Con)
Paul Barton (Con)
Kerry Gormley (Green)
Roy Hyland (Lab)
Kathleen Pratt (Con)
Viv Preston (Lab)
Mohammad Ayub (Lab)
Mohammed Siddique (Con)
John Broadley (Lab)
Mohammed Safdar (Con)
Paula Landers (Lab)
Janet Storey (Con)
David Parkin (Ind)
Brendan Shiel (Lab)
Anne Wells (Con)
Jean Lockwood (Con)
John McCormack (Lab)
Dennis Baron (Con)
Malcolm Pritchard (Lab)
Rob Kearney (Lab)
David Mason (Con)
Stanley Horne (Con)
Winifred Jackson (Lab)
Bill Pinder (Lab)
Brian Roberts (Con)