Wed, 24 Apr 2019
LABOUR is hoping that its candidates “with a diverse skill set and offering real world solutions” can bring about change at West Berkshire Council.
The party’s 81-point manifesto has been compiled from input across its membership, which includes academics, plumbers, former diplomats, teachers and sports coaches.
The chair of the West Berkshire Labour Forum and Labour candidate for Lambourn, Moz Bulbeck Reynolds, said: “I think what we are proudest of is the diversity of skills that have come together to create this manifesto, and not reliant on some stuffy person sat in a big house writing what they think everyone should do.
“It’s real world people putting together real world solutions.”
The party said that a Labour-run council would create a social housing stock in West Berkshire and bring council housing back in-house. It would also look at the definition of an affordable home, declare a climate emergency and back policies to create a carbon neutral district by 2030.
Supporting the removal of the green bin charge, looking at community-based composting and reducing the amount of plastics are also goals.
Developing a local authority energy company and investing in energy storage make up the other pledges.
Mrs Bulbeck Reynolds said the council would ask how green the council’s waste recycling contract was, adding “we actually think the green bin charge is not even scratching the surface”.
She added: “The green bin is a distraction. If people are so concerned about the charge for a bin, then they should be concerned about the safety of their children on the streets.
“If they are not concerned about the environment or affordable housing, these things, to the Labour Party, are more important.”
Looking at social mobility and early intervention in youth services are other aims, with Labour claiming voters are saying that antisocial behaviour was becoming a real issue in their communities.
“Don’t bring the police in, you give them something to do,” Mrs Bulbeck Reynolds said. “It’s understanding what the youth are missing. The kids are bored.
“In rural areas the transport is not good enough to take the kids to and from the activities.”
When asked how their policies would be funded, she said: “I think we understand and know there’s lots of things we need to go and audit. We know there’s waste going on and assets being given away.
“We know what the reserves are, this is how we found some of our cost savings.”
Mrs Bulbeck Reynolds said that a Labour council would reduce costs through better management and put funds back into services where they are needed, such as Citizens Advice West Berkshire.
The party is contesting every seat on the council, fielding 43 candidates. “Obviously for us, we want 43 seats that are Labour,” Mrs Bulbeck Reynolds said. “Whether the West Berkshire community would be happy with that, probably not, but we want more opposition on the council.
“Our candidates have commitment passion and drive.”
Mrs Bulbeck Reynolds and policy officer for Newbury Constituency Labour Party Dr Liz Bell (standing for Tilehurst and Purley) said there was apathy among voters. They said that people were “feeling neglected by this council and by politicians”.
Mrs Bulbeck Reynolds said: “It doesn’t matter if they voted Leave or Remain. They have got to remember that no matter what happens at national level, you still have to pay your council tax.
“Don’t you want to have a say on who represents you?”
Read and hear the full manifesto here.