Labour's manifesto for HF council elections

Promises lower council tax and better services

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Ambitious plans to make Hammersmith & Fulham safer, cleaner and greener are contained in the Labour manifesto for the forthcoming council elections.

In particular Labour promises to:

1. make our borough the greenest place to live in London

2. reduce crime and invest in services for young people

3. make our secondary schools the best in London

4. create more new affordable homes and jobs for local people

5. deliver a three year lower council tax guarantee and better services

The Labour manifesto was launched by Cabinet Minister for Communities and Local Government, David Miliband, and Cllr Stephen Burke, Labour leader of the council, on 26 March.

In his foreword to the manifesto, Cllr Stephen Burke says: “We face the most important elections in Hammersmith & Fulham for many years. We have an excellent record as a Labour council, we are ambitious for our borough and we have good candidates who are on the side of local residents. We are proud of our record. And we want to do much more. Hammersmith & Fulham is a great place to live - and we all want it to be even better."

He claimed the Tories would make huge cuts in local services and divide the community.

Cllr Burke set out Labour’s top five goals for Hammersmith & Fulham in 2006 and beyond. The manifesto states:

1) Smarter Borough
building on the success of our Smarter Borough initiative - with recycling more than doubled in the last year, our streets much cleaner and town centres transformed - we want Hammersmith & Fulham to be the greenest borough in London. There are lots of things we can do individually and collectively on energy, transport and waste to create a more environmentally sustainable community and tackle climate change. The council will work with local residents and businesses to make that happen.

2) Safer Communities
crime has fallen faster in Hammersmith & Fulham than anywhere else in London. The council has already invested £1 million in new Safer Neighbourhood police teams across the borough. We want to do more to reduce crime and the fear of crime. That means more visible police officers and more CCTV. It also means creating more activities for young people. We will open new sports and leisure facilities like the Janet Adegoke swimming pool as we prepare for the 2012 Olympics.

3) Better Education
key to giving every child and young person the best chances in life is education - starting before school in children's centres and quality childcare, through primary schools to secondary schools and beyond. In 2005 we celebrated our best ever GCSE results and the biggest improvements in London. Now we need to build on that with better secondary school choices in the borough. We will also be creating new children's centres and out of school services - and making sure they are more affordable for local parents so they and their children benefit.

4) Decent Affordable Homes
making our borough a fairer place, creating real chances for everyone has to be a top priority. We have created more new affordable homes and are investing £192 million in existing homes. We must ensure that local people benefit from regeneration projects like the White City development to get affordable homes, training and jobs as well as better transport and shopping. And we will deliver new and better services for older people, both in their own homes, scrapping home care charges and in nursing care.

5) Value for Money
this is an ambitious agenda and one that requires investment. But we also know that local people want good value for money. That's why for the next three years we will guarantee real terms cuts in the council tax - ensuring we continue to have one of the lowest council taxes of the 33 London boroughs. That can only be done by the council becoming even more efficient - doing more and better for less money - and more responsive to local people.

To deliver their council tax pledge, it is claimed that the Tories would have to make £50 million cuts in local services, affecting every family in the borough, particularly the most vulnerable.

The Labour party say that based on neighbouring Tory boroughs, the cuts would mean:
· big hikes in rents and no new affordable homes
· huge rises in charges for home helps, school meals, meals on wheels, childcare and holiday playschemes, swimming and libraries and cuts in all these services
· funding axed for voluntary groups and for the arts, closing local theatres
· funding stopped for safer neighbourhood police teams and slashed for youth services
· new charges for recycling, rubbish collection, graffiti, flytipping and bulk refuse removal and cuts in street cleaning

April 3, 2006