Party sets out policies ahead of Council elections
Cllr Stephen Cowan, Labour Leader of the Opposition, has launched his party's manifesto for the borough elections, which sets out what Hammersmith and Fulham could look like under a Labour-run council.
Cllr Cowan climbed onto a soap box in Hammersmith to address voters directly.
"My premise was 'vote for us, or don't vote for us but know what
we stand for and how we want to change Hammersmith and Fulham for the better'.
Low Council election turnouts are indicative of the cynicism many feel about Town
Hall politics. Locally, the Conservative Council’s cuts to police in the
neighbourhoods with the highest crime; their £5million wasted on propaganda; record
18% salary hikes; and their secretive deals to knock down homes have all contributed
to this. The system doesn’t help either: a seemingly self-serving bureaucracy shuts
people out with a “we know best" attitude.
There is a better way but this requires major change. There are two aspects of this.
Firstly, manifesto promises must be treated as a contract with the people. Second,
there must be greater openness and involvement of residents with devolution of
powers and some budgets to neighbourhood groups.
Labour is the only progressive party capable of stopping the Conservatives and
winning Council seats in Hammersmith and Fulham. That’s why we are campaigning on a progressive platform that makes the following commitments:
We will cut crime and improve safety for all by reversing the Conservatives’ cuts and underinvestment. Instead we will provide 24/7 Police Task Squads for all 16 wards.
We will cut tax by at least 3% and do so by stopping the Conservatives’ Town Hall
waste. We will stop the £35 million being wasted on Town Hall offices, dispose of
H&F News and put cutting waste instead of services at the centre of how the Council
manages its budget. We will invest the savings in lower taxes and improved front
We will deliver real improvements to all neighbourhoods. These will be delivered with
residents with each area having a Neighbourhood Improvement Plan. Democratically
certified residents' associations and groups will have devolved budgets and some powers
so that we can deliver improvements faster and cheaper.
We will stop the housing demolition programme being pursued by the Conservatives and
stop residents being forced to move out of the Borough. Instead we will tackle the
shortage of affordable decent homes for residents to buy and to rent by building
more in mixed community developments.
We will deliver services for all in our community and will, for example, abolish the
Conservatives’ exorbitant new £12.40 per hour home care charges for the elderly,
sick and disabled.
We will reverse the Conservatives’ selling off of youth centres and their cuts to
youth services and instead provide facilities for young people that encourages good
citizenship, development and well being. We will build on the democratic structures
within schools and elect a Youth Mayor and Youth Council who will play a role in
scrutinising the services they receive.
We will change the planning process with residents groups prioritising schemes that
are in keeping with the neighbourhoods they hope to be built into. We will appoint
an independent design champion and ensure good design as a cornerstone of each
We will protect the environment by setting ambitious targets to cut local carbon
emissions and implement strategies to encourage green energy generation and better
There’s much more in our 14 page manifesto. We’re campaigning for that better, more
progressive way that puts all our residents first."
April 22, 2010