Greens aim to build on surge in support

Greens aim to build on surge in support

THE Green Party set out radical plans for council devolution as they seek a breakthrough at next month’s local election.

A target seat is Dewsbury West, where candidates will go head-to-head at hustings tomorrow (Saturday, 6pm) at the Salfia Centre at Scout Hill.

Green Party nominee Simon Cope, plus John Nottingham (Con) and Shehzad Hussain (Lib Dem) are due to attend.

It is believed Labour’s Mussarat Pervaiz, hoping to succeed incumbent Coun Karen Rowling after a de-selection row, has other commitments.

The Greens go to the polls with plans to take council devolution a step further than their rivals.

Labour have already switched some power and cash to district committees while the Tories want this moved to ward or parish council level.

But the Greens propose establishing “citizens’ panels” to give residents more control of spending.

Spokesman Adrian Cruden, who is standing in Dewsbury South, said: “Local people should have direct control over their areas. Our ideal situation would be where budgets and services were devolved not just from Huddersfield to Dewsbury.

“Where possible they would go to citizens’ meetings in local communities like Ravensthorpe or Thornhill.”

The Greens set up a North Kirklees branch last year after an apparent surge in demand.

Mr Cruden said: “Our membership is over three times what it was a couple of years ago. We also got our highest-ever number of votes in both consituencies at the general election and the local elections last year.”

He added: “The Green Party is a radical alternative to Labour and all the other parties.

“We want a more equal, more democratic society, and unlike Labour we’ve been consistent in opposing the cuts since the very start.”

He backed Mr Cope, a governor at Boothroyd Primary Academy, to cause an upset in Dewsbury West.

Mr Cruden said: “With the sitting councillor de-selected by her own party, people seem to be looking for a good alternative and Simon could be just the ticket.”

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