Today in Taunton the Labour Party launched its campaign for the Somerset County Council elections to be held in May. The Labour Party will be fielding candidates in 51 county council divisions being contested in the elections.
Labour councillors, candidates and activists were joined outside County Hall by Daniel Zeichner MP, Shadow Minister for Transport.
Addressing candidates and activists Daniel Zeichner slammed cuts to bus services in Somerset being made by the Council. He quoted figures from the Campaign for Better Transport showing that funding for buses would be cut by over £600,000, almost one fifth this year (19%), with ten routes axed or reduced. He pointed out that it’s no use having a bus pass if there is no bus to use it on:
“We all know it’s time for a change here in County Hall, and in May voters in Somerset will have choice in the Labour Party of a clear, credible alternative. Today, we are setting out Labour’s priorities for Somerset, which include a sound and sustainable transport policy, with investment in bus services, and a promise to end the chaotic and expensive delivery of major highway projects and roadworks in the County. A Labour Government will ensure local councils like Somerset have real power over local bus services, and that money currently going to shareholders in private bus companies will instead be used to improve services. And we will be providing more help for young people to get to school and college, with a concessionary fare scheme for young people. I’m confident that over the coming weeks, as our Labour candidates and activists pound the streets and talk to people right across the County, voters will see that these priorities represent the right choice for Somerset.”
The Right Choice for Somerset
I’m confident that over the coming weeks, as our Labour candidates and activists pound the streets and talk to people right across the County, voters will see that these priorities represent the right choice for Somerset.”
Councillor Leigh Redman, Labour Group Leader, said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see so many prospective Labour councillors here today, many of whom will be standing for election for the first time to offer voters an alternative to the current administration of Somerset. The Labour Party is the largest and most active political party in Somerset and has seen a resurgence in support over the past two years as it becomes clear that business as usual at County Hall is not an option.
Protecting our services: Investing in our children
Leigh continued “Through our manifesto for Somerset we have set out a positive, realistic alternative message for how a Labour run County Council would put our values and priorities into action for the people of Somerset. We would protect services for the most vulnerable, create a sustainable environment, promote economic growth for Somerset’s workers and businesses, invest in our children’s education and protect the vital culture and heritage of our historic county.People are entitled to ask if the current administration is up to the task. No one I speak to thinks they have done a good job as stewards of our County. “
Labour is the change we need
“Our clear answer is that Labour is the change we need. Last year Somerset had the biggest council tax rise in England and yet we still had huge overspends on budgets in the current financial year, with the Council on the very edge of declaring itself bankrupt. This happened while essential services have continued to be cut year-on-year and while other services, such as our long-failing Children’s Services, have descended into further crisis. For children and grandchildren, for the people in desperate need across Somerset, this cannot be allowed to continue. Our promise is that Labour will do better”.
For further information contact:
Cllr Leigh Redman, Labour Group Leader at Somerset County Council, on 007971484039
Neil Guild, Chair of Somerset Labour Party, on 07950700872
Electronic copies of the Labour Party manifesto for Somerset are accessible here