Sheffield party leaders spell out what they have done - now the power is in your hands

Picture 'Tom Maddick / Rossparry.co.uk
Picture 'Tom Maddick / Rossparry.co.uk
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Sheffield’s elected local party leaders have spelled out what they have done for the city ahead of next month’s election.

The local elections take place on the same day as the general election – Thursday May 7 – and 167 candidates are standing across the city’s 28 wards.

Here, the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and Ukip leaders of Sheffield Council explain why voters should back them based on their records. ­Other parties standing, but which currently have no elected representatives in the city, include the Conservatives and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.

The current make-up of the city council is Labour, 59, Liberal Democrats, 18, Green Party, four, and Ukip, three.

Of the 28 council seats up for election in May, 21 are held by Labour, six by the Liberal Democrats and one by the Green Party.

Today is the last day residents can register to vote for both polls – visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/vote.

By John Booker, Sheffield’s Ukip deputy leader

How times have changed in Sheffield, three Ukip councillors in the town hall and after May 7, hopefully many more.

I, leader Couns Jack Clarkson and Pauline Andrews are hard-working, normal people. Our views represent and are the same as those of many.

We have a common sense view to politics, and feel when thousands of people make concerns known, they should be listened to.

Major planning and services decisions should be put to a local vote on a petition by five per cent of the electorate.

Inside the town hall there is a microcosm of ideas.

I feel established parties have a doctrine ideology that’s sometimes toxic, distorting the thought process. Although I consider the Greens professional, well-informed and impeccably behaved, which is not the normal state of affairs.

We are proud to live in Sheffield and be from England’s largest county, home of coal and steel industries which built Britain.

Ukip doesn’t just want independence from the EU but an independence of thought, to run our own affairs, our own way, by our own people.

To leave the EU, stay friendly with Europe and trade with the world.

The EU is a Napoleonic blueprint, its aim totalitarian control of member states. This means taking our sovereignty, democracy, economy. Talk of EU money is a con, it is our own coin repackaged.

Sheffield is targeted by a developers’ charter, with planned development of thousands of homes on green belt. Land designated by previous Governments who had foresight not possessed by today’s representatives.

Ukip will always ask difficult questions - about the tremendous World Student Games costs, the sorry saga of Sheffield City Airport, the new Moor Market and decision to demolish Devonshire Street shops.

Our first year in office has been an amazing journey but is just a taster of what lies ahead.

By Julie Dore, Labour leader

The past five years have been tough for many Sheffield people.

When Nick Clegg and David Cameron say the economy is booming they sound completely out of touch with reality.

People have been hit by unfair policies like the bedroom tax, wages have stagnated and essential costs increased.

As a council we have supported people in difficult times, introduced a living wage for council staff and launched switches to help people save money on bills.

We are clamping down on payday lenders by creating Sheffield Money.

We’ve transformed apprenticeships through the Sheffield Apprenticeship Programme, giving Sheffield the best apprenticeships record of all England’s largest cities.

Government funding to the council has halved since 2010. These cuts are unfairly targeted at cities like Sheffield.

Our priority has been to protect front-line services, particularly for the most vulnerable.

That’s why we have protected spending on frontline safeguarding of children and cut less from social care.

Other cities have seen libraries close, we managed to keep all open by working with our communities.

As council leader one of the things people most often raise with me is the state of roads.

We have been working for the past few years to resurface the city’s network, this will be completed by 2017. Where work has been done feedback is positive, but there are still too many roads not up to standard. We are bringing forward work in many areas to completed this as soon as possible.

Despite difficult times we have faced, Labour are committed to making our city a great place for everyone. If re-elected we will continue to fight for a fair deal, protecting the most vulnerable.

We will build more houses, complete Streets Ahead, continue to create more apprenticeships and jobs and deliver key projects vital for transforming our city’s economy.

By Jillian Creasy, Green party leader

You have two votes at this election – for a councillor and an MP.

We are an opposition party but we can influence policy and get things done. The higher our vote and the more elected politicians we have, the stronger that influence.

People have become disillusioned with politicians at Westminster; too many have a vested interest in inequality.

Green councillors work hard, speaking up for the people they represent. Green MPs would do the same for the people of Sheffield.

We stand against austerity cuts, for taxing the wealthy and using the money to invest in public services, infrastructure and renewable energy. This will create decently paid jobs, build a fairer society and help the environment. Affordable well-insulated homes and better public transport help people and the planet.

Locally, we have challenged the council to pay a living wage for their workers, including those in contracted-out services. We have argued against privatisation, especially of health and social care.

Above all, we have worked with local communities as they try to fill the gaps left by cuts, for instance running libraries, working to prevent fly-tipping and clearing rubbish. We passionately support local, independent businesses and help Sheffield traders in their uneven battle with multinational chains.

Nationally, Green MP Caroline Lucas has stood up for the most vulnerable in society. She has put forward bills in Parliament to crack down on tax dodging and to return the NHS to public provision.

Every other party wants to continue with a health-care “market” and let private companies profit from it. In 2015 she voted against austerity cuts, Trident nuclear weapons and fracking.

Sheffield deserves a strong and determined local voice. Give the real alternative a chance and vote for a party that stands for the common good. Make it two votes Green on May 7.

By Colin Ross, Sheffield Liberal Democrat leader

The Liberal Democrats were faced with a very difficult decision after the 2010 election but I believe we made the right choice.

We could have stayed on the fringes of politics or we could have stepped up to the challenge and formed the first successful peacetime coalition in UK history.

We have kept the Tories in check and held influence to make Britain a fairer society with a stronger economy and more opportunity for everyone.

Nick Clegg, as Deputy Prime Minister, has used his position to secure record investment for the city including £1.2 billion for the Streets Ahead programme, which will see every road, pavement and streetlight in the city repaired and the Government’s historic City Deal which unlocks another £700 million of investment for our city and region.

The next few years will be a historic time for Sheffield with the recent Devolution Deal and we need to make sure the council really seize this opportunity to get the best for Sheffield. Having campaigned for greater devolved powers for years, we are the ones to do just that.

Unlike the current Labour administration we have a vision for a modern Sheffield, leading the north.

We want to make Sheffield truly ‘open for business’ by getting rid of red tape so businesses can invest in Sheffield, creating jobs and stimulating the economy so we can compete with nearby Manchester and Leeds.

A vote for us on May 7 is a vote for a better-run council, with more accountability, more openness and more flexibility.

When we last ran the council we delivered record high education results, huge reductions in crime and increased recycling rates.

We will deliver again, bringing decision making closer to you to ensure Sheffield becomes the business friendly city it was when we ran the council.