Parties vie for your votes at election day

Kidderminster Shuttle: Parties vie for your votes at election day Parties vie for your votes at election day

WYRE Forest party spokesmen and women have spoken to The Shuttle about why voters should cross the box for them at the upcoming elections.

Voters will go to the polls on Thursday next week when 14 of 42 seats at Wyre Forest District Council up for grabs and, separately, candidates are fighting to represent the West Midlands in the European Parliament.

For the district council, the ruling Conservatives, largest opposition Independent Community and Health Concern (ICHC), Labour and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) will contest each ward. The Liberal and Independent group, Green Party and Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts (TUSC) have also put forward candidates.

Wyre Forest Conservative group leader Marcus Hart said: "I would like Wyre Forest residents to continue to back the Conservative administration. We have a proven track record and have achieved much, we have centralised office accommodation in Stourport Road, which is reaping substantial benefits for the taxpayer.

"We want to continue, despite the difficult financial climate we find ourselves in, to invest in front line services and economic regeneration to make Wyre Forest an excellent place to live and work. We will keep council tax under control, we froze it for three years and it has only increased by 1.9 per cent this year." The Tories are defending eight seats.

Graham Ballinger, leader of ICHC which is defending three seats, said his party was running on a ticket of "honesty, integrity and trust".

"We are about being honest and listening to the public," he said. "We believe there are so many things the public need to have their voice listened to on. All our three defending councillors have a proven track record and the other 11 have been selected on their integrity. We believe we are honest with the Wyre Forest public and members won't be forced to follow party lines, they can vote with their conscience."

Labour leader Jamie Shaw said his party had a positive record at Wyre Forest House. He added: "My message is strong, if you want us to improve upon our positive record locally, Labour is the best choice. We put forward the supermarket levy, living wage for council workers and were first to suggest the empty homes officer which is now in place. They were rubbished at the budget setting but have now been brought in.

"If you want positive input to manifest itself in credible, workable policies that is what we want to achieve, even through we accept the overall range of public services has to shrink."

Liberal leader Fran Oborski also said her party had brought forward policies implemented by the administration. She said: "The big issues are about people having confidence the council is really investing to improve facilities in the area.

"We have successfully modified the Conservatives' budget and persuaded them they must carry out a review of senior management at the council."

UKIP parliamentary spokesman Michael Wrench said his party, which has never won a seat on the district council, would create history and added the cabinet system was not working properly at Wyre Forest House.

"If people were to vote for UKIP they would get a totally independent councillor who can put the community first without having to be worried about their party HQ and the members opposite. We do not go for all this political correctness stuff, we will go by common sense decisions. We want to see Wyre Forest District Council serve, not dictate."

Green Party spokesman Ronald Lee said his party had campaigned on several issues throughout the district including for "proper checks" after the Lawrence fire, against Worcestershire County Council bus cuts,hospital cuts and the bedroom tax. "We are the people out there actually speaking on behalf of ordinary people," he added.

Nigel Gilbert, of TUSC, said the council had "very tamely allowed their funding and powers to be steadily whittled away". "For us it is about standing up to central Government," he added. "Local democracy is becoming irrelevant so we are standing against cuts so councils have enough money to do what they are supposed to do."

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