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Walsall local elections 2021: Liberal Democrats set their stall out for more seats on the council

by Ian Shires on 14 April, 2021

Published on BIRMINGHAM Live by Gurdip Thandi Local Democracy Reporter 11:46, 14 APR 2021 BLACK COUNTRY

Walsall Liberal Democrats Ian Shires and Daniel Barker (Photo taken before Covid). PIC: Ian Shires

Walsall Liberal Democrats Ian Shires and Daniel Barker (Photo taken before Covid). PIC: Ian Shires

Tackling inequality and poverty, supporting people and communities and building a cleaner greener Walsall are at the heart of the Liberal Democrats’ fight to secure more seats in the borough.

The party – which currently holds two seats on Walsall Council – is fielding a total of 11 candidates across the borough in the local election, which will be held on Thursday, May 6.

Both sitting councillors, group leader Ian Shires and Daniel Barker, are battling to retain their positions on the authority and have set out how they intend to build on what they already have.

Councillor Shires, who was first elected in 1979, said they wanted to ensure residents had their voices heard in the corridors of power.

He said: “Most people, wherever they are from, are looking for the same thing. They’re not trying to get filthy rich. They don’t expect someone else to do what they can do for themselves.

“But they do expect that if they’re willing to work, they should be able to find a job that supports their family.

“They expect that they shouldn’t go bankrupt just because they get sick. They expect that their kids should be able to get a good education.

“They want to feel safe in their homes and secure in their local community.

Walsall Liberal Democrats Daniel Barker and Ian Shires (Photo taken before Covid). PIC: Ian Shires

Walsall Liberal Democrats Daniel Barker and Ian Shires (Photo taken before Covid). PIC: Ian Shires

“And they figure that after a lifetime of work, they should be able to retire with dignity and respect. That’s about it. It’s not a lot to wish for is it?

“Although folk don’t expect the council to solve all of their problems, they do know, that with a slight change of priorities, councils could provide the help they need.”

He added the cuts in funding for local services by the Government had hit the most vulnerable and driven the main ambitions of their manifesto.

Councillor Shires said they needed a budget that built on lessons learned during the pandemic which included:

  • Supporting the mental wellbeing of citizens with particularly the under 25’s
  • Reducing child poverty and improving family wellbeing
  • Lifting incomes by improving access to good education, training and upskilling
  • Building a thriving local economy in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunity
  • Creating opportunities to aid transition to a sustainable, low-emission based local economy.

He said: “In Walsall, their ideologically driven and politically motivated cuts have disproportionately hit those at most risk in our community – the elderly on fixed incomes, those with disabilities, children and young people who have little or no say on their own futures along with single parents and working families who struggle to make ends meet.

“Because of these challenges we have developed our manifesto of bold ambitions to improve our town for the benefit of its people.

“In these difficult times we need to change the way services are designed and delivered. Now more than ever partnership working between the public, voluntary and private sector is key to success for our town.”

He added: “Conservatives who currently control Walsall Council voted through an inflation busting 4.99 per cent increase in council tax bills.

“Incredibly, at the same meeting in February, the 32 Conservatives on the council voted to increase their allowances!

“We voted against the council tax hike and the increase in allowances. We also voted against the budget because it was based on a winner takes all attitude which promotes tax breaks for the super- wealthy whilst ordinary hard working families have to put up with stagnant income, lay-offs and zero hours contracts.

Published and promoted by Stuart Hodges on behalf of Ian Shires and Dan Barker all at 33 Stretton Road, Willenhall WV12 5EJ

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