Labour chief we'll stay in power

LABOUR is set to retain control of Kirklees Council next week, party leader Mehboob Khan declared.

He predicted interlinked local and national issues would see Labour stay in charge as a minority administration.

Coun Khan rubbished Tory claims that Labour was focusing only on national problems as a way to avoid talking about council cuts.

He instead claimed voters understood that Labour's current costcutting across Kirklees was as a result of Government policies.

"Our campaign's going extremely well." Coun Khan said. "I think we're in a strong position to retain control of the council.

"The coalition's cuts to council spending have disproportionately affected the north of England.

"We've lost £57 per person in Kirklees while the council in Oxfordshire where David Cameron is an MP has lost only £23 per person.

"That's why we've had to make some very difficult decisions. If the cuts had been implemented fairly, we'd have an extra £14m."

He added unemployment, rising household bills and the future of public services were topics featuring heavily on doorsteps.

Coun Khan said Tory opposition to the controversial Local Development Framework planning strategy was odd.

He claimed the policy, which may see green belt land at Chidswell and across Dewsbury South built on, was the key to beating unemployment.

"There's no consistency in the Tory position," Coun said. "Nationally, they're harrassing, even bullying, councils to build on green belt land.

"But locally they're opposed to the LDF. It doesn't make sense, especially when we've sought to protect the green belt.

"Some 70 per cent of Kirklees is in green belt and all only 1 per cent of it at strategic sites has been allocated for employment and housing.

"Public sector cuts means more jobs will have to be created by the private sector, and that's what the LDF aims to attract."  


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