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Walsall and its Five Towns – Liberal Democrat Manifesto May 2022

by Ian Shires on 1 May, 2022

Thursday 5th May 2022. Was there something you really needed to be doing on this date?

Local elections 2018: How to cast your vote in May election | Politics | News | Express.co.ukCertainly, if you want to safeguard living in a free, fair and open society is important to you. A society that values its liberty, equality and sense of community there is.

Thursday 5th May is the day you get to cast your vote for who you want to represent you on Walsall Council.  Yes, it’s Local Election day. When the power rests in your hands, not theirs. So, don’t leave it to others, they may well be leaving it to you. Cast your vote, show them how you feel.

It’ll also be the first opportunity you get to send a message to the current shower at Westminster that you are not prepared to put up with the kind of hypocrisy and double standards that have surrounded those at No10, those who partied whilst the rest of us stuck to the rules. Those involved in the PartyGate scandal have the nerve to say they belong to the Party of Law and Order, when it is they who have broken the Law, they who have a Police record. They have been found guilty of breaking the Laws they set up and expected everyone else to follow. They must take us all for fools.

Doing nothing or voting Conservative on Thursday 5th May can lead to only one thing, nothing will change. Vote for a change, vote Liberal Democrat. Check out below what a Liberal Democrat influenced Walsall would look like.

 

Forward by former Councillor Ian Shires

Lib Dems want the best for our town. We will always speak up for residents both at Walsall Council and at the West Midlands Combined Authority demanding you get a fair share of the resources available. This manifesto sets out our plans to continue building on the work already done.

In recent years the Conservative Government at Westminster, aided and abetted by Conservatives running Walsall Council, have dramatically cut local spending,. Their continuing austerity measures are ideologically and politically driven and have disproportionately hit those at most risk in our communities – the elderly on fixed incomes, those with disabilities whose lives are tough enough, then there’s the children and young people who have little or no say on their own futures along with single parents and working families struggle to make ends meet.

Conservative cuts to local government funding continue to touch all our lives, even more so in urban cities and towns such as Walsall and its District Centres. They do this whilst protecting the wealthy mainly Conservative-run councils in the South and Southeast. It’s because of these challenges that we need to have bold ambitions to continue to improve our town for the benefit of its people.

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

We need more than ever to work together with local people so that we can take on more responsibility, look out for each other, respect our local environment, and take the opportunities that come our way. Our plan is our commitment, to work together with you to make our town a town to be proud of once more.

Ian Shires  

May 2022 Local Election –

Walsall and its Five Towns.

Liberal Democrat Manifesto

Is Walsall town centre 'dirty' and putting off shoppers? | Express & Star

Our 5 key pledges:

  1. Work to achieve the goal of ensuring every child is taught in a local school judged to be good or outstanding by OFSTED.
  2. Work to achieve the goal of guaranteeing a job, a training place or further education place for all 18-24 olds.
  3. Work to achieve the goal of ensuring all new homes in our town are built to Passive House standards, fit for purpose, and affordable to run whether you rent or buy.
  4. Tackle the growing problem of fuel poverty.
  5. Work to achieve the goal of reducing the number of victims of crime and reduce anti–social behaviour.

 Introduction:

This Liberal Democrat manifesto is guided by our ambition for our town and our clear values:

  • To create a town where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. No one should be a victim of their Post Code. Everyone should have an equal opportunity.
  • To reduce poverty and social exclusion.
  • Developing a green, sustainable town that people choose to live, work, and relax in.
  • A creative, entrepreneurial, business friendly town where everyone has the chance to prosper.
  • A town where people take responsibility for themselves, their neighbours and for contributing to their community.

 This manifesto contains 89 aims that we seek to achieve with your help including our ambition to revitalise Walsall and its district shopping centres, promote sustainable affordable homes, and boost employment and business opportunities across our town.

We want to build on our achievements between May 2016 and May 2018 when we were instrumental in putting in place local decision making through four Localities across borough.

Towns like Willenhall and Darlaston, Aldridge, Brownhills and Bloxwich, since being swallowed up by the Metropolitan Borough of Walsall, have lost their identity. We intend to put these back on the map. Not only that, but we will also ensure that residents and businesses in Walsall’s 5 Towns have their say in developing a great future for us all.

Unlike many politicians who make promises in order to win elections and then break them once in office, Liberal Democrats take our promises to the electorate very seriously, and we believe that the Council, together with other public services, our communities and local businesses need to thrive.

That is why we need Councillors that understand the importance of greater devolution of decision making to local communities. All the evidence shows that with greater powers, freedoms and responsibilities, towns like Walsall along with its 5 District Centres can thrive, creating jobs, delivering services more efficiently and making a bigger contribution to the local economy. We need Councillors that recognise that services are best delivered closest to the people who use them and that trust local people and politicians to work in the best interests of the communities they represent

The next Local Election on Thursday 5th May 2022 will be decisive. The choice will be whether under Lib-Dem influence, our townships build on their past successes, addressing the challenges of the future by achieving our ambitions. Or whether, under the dead hand of the Conservatives whose Leader on Walsall Council has said there will be no such thing as free, the council will no longer be a provider of services, but will become an enabler and residents will need to do more for themselves.

This manifesto shows that Liberal Democrats take a very different view. Given the opportunity, we have the ambition and commitment to successfully take our townships forward despite the challenges we all face. People of Walsall you have a choice.

So, on May 5th please take time out to secure your future by voting Liberal Democrat in the Local Elections.  Together we can make our townships the great places we all want them to be.

The People

Participatory Budgeting - Shared Future CIC

Walsall is one of the most diverse and welcoming towns in the Black Country and a great place to live. We want to help families get on in life by providing a good range of leisure activities, free and cheap events, and excellent public services.

We know that our young people have energy and enthusiasm to give. That is why we want to keep more young people in our townships and give their ideas a chance to flourish. We will help young people find their place in Walsall by fighting to ensure a choice of good quality, energy efficient housing, access to workspace and increased work opportunities.

We also want to make life better for older people. That’s why we will fight to protect older people’s discounts on valued services – services such as bus passes – helping older people get around and maintain their social lives. We want older people, where they need it, to have choice and confidence in the care they receive and the way in which it is delivered, maintaining dignity, independence, and control.

We want to develop ways in which we can help reduce the ever-increasing burden of fuel costs. We want to make our town more people friendly, a town that enables healthy lifestyles, positive outcomes and happy lives and encourages people to contribute to the wellbeing of their community.

Walsall Liberal Democrats will fight to protect you from cutbacks:

  • Social workers keeping our most vulnerable children safe
  • Leisure facilities which enable our town’s residents to enjoy sport and the health benefits these facilities bring.
  • Services for the frail, elderly and most vulnerable, enabling them to get the best from their lives.

Families

i work hard so my family can have a better life funny family Quotes Gift with heart - Working Hard For Family - Sticker | TeePublic UK

Walsall Liberal Democrats will:

  • Fight to tackle fuel poverty
  • Develop ways of ensuring that local people get a fair chance when it comes to training places, apprenticeships, and entry level council jobs.
  • Create safer streets for children, pedestrians, and cyclists.
  • Fight to ensure that a large proportion of children in the council’s care live within 20 miles of the town and increase the number of local foster carers.
  • Provide a range of positive activities for children and young people in the evening and at weekends as well as during school holidays.

Older People

How to Meet the Needs of a Diverse Aging Society | UCSF School of Nursing

Walsall Liberal Democrats will fight for:

  • An ‘Older Persons’ Charter’ to be developed in conjunction with carers and campaign groups
  • Development of a telecare and telehealth service in order to support more people to live independently
  • Gritting of well-used pavements as well as roads in winter to help prevent people from falling.

Your Community

Designing sustainable communities – a blueprint for UK housebuilding | Metropolitan Workshop

Liberal Democrats are committed to making our townships increasingly clean, green and energy efficient. One of the key values of local Liberal Democrats is our commitment to helping develop a green, sustainable town that people choose to live, work, and relax in. We know that if we are to achieve that we must incorporate green policies into the ambitions we have for the town and its district centres.

We recognise that being a green town would allow us to deliver greater value for money and help to keep the cost of living down. It makes the environment in which we live more pleasant for us all and is the key to being a sustainable town that caters for the needs not just for the current population but to future generations. That is why we will commit to fight for solar panels, insulation and promote public transport, our open spaces and new technology.

Liberal Democrats will:

  • Work with citizens to help ensure that all neighbourhoods are as clean as the town centre
  • Encourage developers to build eco-homes meeting exacting energy-efficiency standards
  • Effective use of planning powers to ensure developers incorporate energy efficiency standards into all building developments
  • Aim to reduce carbon emissions as an authority by 20% by 2024
  • Encourage low carbon vehicles by fighting for an infrastructure of charging stations across the borough
  • Improve the standard of taxis in our town
  • Simplify our recycling systems to households across the borough
  • Invest in our parks and open spaces to win more Green Flag awards

Living in Walsall and its townships 

Urban Sustainability | NMBU 

Walsall Liberal Democrats want our townships to be even better places to live in, with good quality housing, good public transport, clean streets, well maintained open spaces and excellent leisure facilities.

 

We believe that an affordable, decent home is a critical cornerstone in enabling people achieve what they want in life, Willenhall Liberal Democrats will fight to make housing a priority, working with local people, developers, and local social housing providers to ensure high standards of affordable, sustainable homes are available to everyone whether they rent or buy.

But we do need local people to play their part too.

For example, we could save £500,000 if people didn’t litter, fly tip and if all dog owners cleaned up after their pet. That’s why we need local people to take pride in and responsibility for their local neighbourhoods.

 

Walsall Liberal Democrats recognise that good transport links are vital, encouraging investment, providing access to jobs, education, and services. Soon passengers will be able to travel from Willenhall and Darlaston to Birmingham, Walsall, and Wolverhampton when the new train stations at Willenhall and Darlaston open. Conservatives said these new train stations would be ready in time for the Commonwealth games. Like many of their promises these new train stations have yet to materialise. We will continue to fight for an integrated public transport system linking local bus services to the proposed new train stations, holding transport chiefs to account to provide the best possible passenger experience.

Walsall Liberal Democrats will fight to protect residents and businesses from cutbacks:

  • Funding for essential roads and footpath improvements and repairs, we will lobby government for more money for this.
  • Public Transport, which should be key to achieving climate change targets should needs to be fast, reliable, and reasonably priced.
  • Environmental health teams, need the resources and authority to make sure that people are safe and secure in their rented homes
  • Street lighting needs to be smarter, at its brightest when traffic levels are high, then dimming during the quieter moments. Lights will be kept on overnight in all our neighbourhoods for safeties sake.

Walsall Liberal Democrats will:

  • Fight to provide a network of continuous green pathways and safe cycle ways to learn the lessons from the Pandemic to encourage more people to walk, cycle or take public transport to local shops, schools, medical centres, and leisure facilities within 20 minutes of their homes.
  • Campaign to expand Sprint Rapid-Transit bus network to include Bloxwich, North Willenhall to New Cross Hospital and onwards to Wolverhampton where it would link with the Midland Metro
  • Work with local Housing Associations to fight fuel poverty, provide affordable zero-carbon new build homes to rent and buy delivering housing options to meet the needs of all age groups
  • Create a comprehensive licensing scheme for all private rented accommodation to drive up standards and protect tenants’ rights.
  • Work with local residents to maintain and deliver new Green Flag Award winning woodland, parks, and open spaces.
  • Support music and sporting events in our Parks and other suitable venues
  • Improve the standard of taxis and their regulation to promote local businesses and service quality
  • Help local people switch energy suppliers with annual local advice events and publicity

Growing Walsall and its Townships

Worcester Job Coach | Worcester Community Trust

It’s a fact that having the right skills and being in work is key to living a fulfilled life. Walsall Liberal Democrats are committed to encourage a thriving local economy, aiming to provide sufficient jobs for all those of working age. The economic wellbeing of our town and our local centres depends on keeping people in work wherever possible, able to spend their earnings to boost the local economy, rather than having to claim out of work benefits.

Over the next four years we would work to develop new homes on brown field sites. New homes which will be energy efficient, built within easy reach of a reliable, efficient public transport corridors. We want to work to create easy to access local jobs and improve the opportunities for developing an eating out culture where people can relax and wind down with family and friends.

The Conservative policy of continuing austerity has impacted on the West Midlands as a whole and towns like Willenhall and Darlaston in the Black Country more than most. Their policies have made it difficult for our local economy to grow and their austerity budgets have pulled money out of the local economy. Despite all of this, we want to see everyone in Walsall with the right skills and ambition to find work, and we want to help create the jobs for them to fill.

But we also need our working age citizens to seek work and be involved in training and self-improvement. This way we can all make sure Walsall’s economy prospers.

Walsall Liberal Democrats will:

  • Work with local residents and businesses to create Town Centre Action Plans for all 5 Townships as well as for Walsall itself, giving locals a real say in the future look and development of their townships
  • Within these plans identify areas where we can provide the support for business start ups
  • Encourage the setting up of a creative industries business hubs
  • Use open data to better provide information and services to citizens
  • Encourage low carbon vehicles by creating an infrastructure of charging stations.
  • Develop a “Smart City Collaborative” to enhance the use of new and existing technologies to make us modern, more inclusive, and more efficient

To grow Walsall and its Townships we will also:

  • Promote digital inclusion by promoting free internet and computer access points for developing digital skills and online learning
  • Promote the benefits of domestic energy efficiency using zero carbon homes projects for our most deprived areas
  • Promote an “Open Business Award” on the back of our Civic Open Data Project to encourage local companies to use open data innovatively to create new products and services

Education in Walsall

British values - St Thomas More Catholic School

Education is a priority for Walsall Liberal Democrats. The move towards Academies may have changed the role of local councils in delivering education, but it has not changed our ambition for Walsall’s children to be the best they possibly can be. We will work closely with schools to improve attendance, behaviour, and attainment.

A good education is vital for our young people to become well rounded, successful, and happy members of society. Walsall Liberal Democrats are committed to making all our schools places of leaning for every child, not just the lucky few.

Parenting plays a crucial role in educational development. We will be the parents’ champion fighting to get the best standard of classroom teaching, but we do need parents to be their children’s champion by fostering a learning environment at home.

In Education, Walsall Liberal Democrats will:

  • Work with schools to help more pupils receive 5 or more A*s-C grades including English and Maths
  • Work with schools to reduce absence from school by 20%
  • Work with schools to ensure every child is taught in a school judged to be good or outstanding by OFSTED
  • Work to ensure that every child receives a good quality work placement, work readiness training and good careers advice before leaving school
  • Improve on the provision of special school places for children with additional needs
  • Encourage schools to equip our young people for the wider world by delivering proper sex and relationship education
  • Work to ensure our schools offer a range of after school activities for young people

 Healthy Walsall

CLCH - Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust | Team London

Walsall Liberal Democrats are ambitious for the development of Walsall and its townships. However, Walsall people will not feel the full benefit of this if they are not well enough to take advantage of new opportunities. Caring for our older residents and vulnerable adults is a key priority. We will build on the work we did in devolving services to Localities, it’s here where the NHS and Adult Social Care have begun working closely together. Walsall Liberal Democrats want to build on the work we started between 2016 and 2018 to ensure better care for our vulnerable residents.

The National Health Service is a key dividing line between the political parties. Good health and social care services play a vital role of making sure that are our citizens can benefit from our town’s improvements. When it comes to District Centres such as Willenhall, Darlaston, Aldridge, Brownhills and Bloxwich, Walsall’s Conservatives have made it quite clear, power rests in the hands of the few at the centre. District centres play second fiddle.

Since Walsall Conservatives took control of Walsall Council they have systematically shifted funding away from the District centres and concentrated it on Walsall town centre. Walsall Liberal Democrats make this pledge, we will fight to repeal action taken by Walsall Conservatives, returning power back to District centres through a Federal Walsall based on its Townships.

We will also fight to ensure the reinstatement of the policy we helped put in place where the funding the council has was directed to help to get rid of the deprivation residents across the borough have had to endure for far too long. Deprivation has a negative effect on people’s life chances and their wellbeing.

Walsall Liberal Democrats will fight to protect all residents as far as is possible from cuts imposed by central government:

  • Vital health related services that give our children the best possible start in life
  • Effective services that reduce drug and alcohol addiction, encouraging better lives and safer communities
  • Vital aids and adaptations to people’s homes meaning they can live independently

Walsall Liberal Democrats will:

  • Work to reduce teenage pregnancy by a third
  • Fight to drive up the quality of home care services
  • Fight to ensure that care is tailored to individual needs through properly integrated Council social care services with those delivered by the NHS
  • Fight to improve mental health services to new moms and moms–to-be as well as reducing smoking during pregnancy by a third

We will also:

  • Fight to improve support to the often-forgotten army of unpaid carers by fostering links with each other as well as the public services they rely on
  • Fight for a ‘Mental Health Strategy’, to ensure better mental wellbeing for all residents
  • Campaign to ensure that as a town we are at the front of the queue when it comes to cancer screening

Respect for Walsall and its townships

Advice and crime prevention | Police.uk

Knowing that you are safe in your home and within your community is s important. Without this feeling of security people will leave and those who do remain won’t enjoy their lives in our great town, and businesses won’t invest.

Walsall Liberal Democrats will make working in partnership with the Police, local housing associations, Community Protection, and local people to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour a priority. We have listened to your concerns and will work to ban street drinking across the borough to make our communities safer and more family friendly. We will also work with the Police to stop off-licences to stop selling to those who are drunk or underage and persuade the council to use its licensing powers to limit the number of new off-licenses, casinos, and sex-shops whilst at the same time encouraging small venues and restaurants.

Walsall Liberal Democrats will

  • Work with the Police to reduce the number of victims of crime and the amount of antisocial behaviour
  • Work with partners to reduce domestic violence
  • Make use of Public Space Protection Orders to tackle irresponsible dog owners
  • Use the council’s licensing powers to reduce the number of off-licenses and supermarkets selling super-strength beers and lagers and crack down on premises at persistently sell alcohol to drunks, alcoholics and underage young people
  • Ensure a zero tolerance of child sexual exploitation through a public awareness campaign to increase early awareness

Walsall Liberal Democrats will also

  • Ensure that the council works with vulnerable families
  • Work with the Police Crime Commissioner to improve access to the Police
  • Increase the reporting of hate crime by 20%
  • Work with the council to provide free advice to households that have been burgled and take action against landlords that fail to follow the advice

Serving Residents Better

Pictures: Noddy Holder receives the Freedom of Walsall - Birmingham Live

Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council exists to serve local people and local communities. It works with partners in order to deliver local services at the highest possible standard and listens to and engages with residents and business to shape those services to suit the needs of those local communities all of which have different needs.

Since 2015 the Conservative Government has continued to cut funding to local councils. Eddie Hughes MP (Con) Walsall North and Wendy Morton MP (Con) Aldridge Brownhills have consistently voted for these cuts even though they are aware of the damage continuing austerity measures are doing to local services.

These funding cuts disproportionately target the poorest and most deprived communities. These continuing unfair cuts have meant that Councils like Walsall have had to radically rethink the way that services are delivered. In 2018 we helped to begin a process which will make the council more efficient, easier for residents to deal with and more effective in delivering its services.

Since the Conservatives took over control of the council back in May 2018, comments made by their leaders have concentrated on cuts rather than improvements to service delivery. Walsall Liberal Democrats believe that despite what are called budget pressures, local people should be able to expect the best possible services from their council. That is why we want a council that aims to be the most customer friendly in the country, with more ways for you to engage and interact with it than ever before.

Walsall Liberal Democrats will

  • Work towards ensuring better ways of reporting problems by using apps, or by text, on the phone or in person
  • Protect from cuts as far as possible Council services by securing value for money
  • Promote the use of debt and benefit advice and the Credit Union as an alternative to pay day lending and loan sharks
  • Move towards more flexible opening hours for council offices and libraries

Liberal Democrat’s Pledge to you

 

Liberal Democrat Community Champions care passionately about Walsall, its District Centres, and its diverse communities. They live in the town and use its local services. They want our local communities to be served well by the council. That is why, when elected they will make every effort to be available at surgeries, on the phone and by email.

Liberal Democrats believe that wherever you live in the town, if you have a Liberal Democrat Councillor you should be able to expect the same level of service from them, so you have access to someone who respects you, listens to you, and champions your area. You know not to expect this from the other parties. If elected, Liberal Democrat Councillors will be the local champions you need.

I'm voting Liberal Democrat

Once elected all Liberal Democrat Councillors promise to:

  • Hold at least 2 Advice Surgeries a month
  • Do regular Ward Walks so they can spot problems. They will listen to your views and concerns
  • Be present or represented at community events and meetings that local people invite them to attend
  • Deliver at least 6 Focus newsletters a year in each Liberal Democrat Ward keeping you up to date on what they have been doing locally, borough wide and further afield
  • Join local action groups and work to make them a success
  • Attend committees they are appointed to. Ensuring that they are well briefed and constructive in its work
  • Ensure your problems are tackled quickly and efficiently through their casework system. Doing their best to resolve issues to your satisfaction
  • Seek your views on issues that matter in your area
  • Use their influence within the Liberal Democrat Party through their contacts regionally and nationally. Standing up for you and town we call home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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