Politics benefits from clarity on policy.
Over the last few weeks, on two important issues to voters in Bury North, the Labour Party have set out their position.
In a recent TV interview, Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, admitted that London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) £12.50 driver tax “is coming to towns and cities across the whole of the UK.”
We have seen the devotion of local Labour politicians to implementing draconian charging schemes, with the Mayor of Greater Manchester proposing a 493 square mile plan that would mean daily charges ranging between £7.50 and £60, impacting hard-working Bury businesses and sole traders.
This plan was supported by all Labour councillors in Bury.
The Mayor’s scheme was changed in the face of widespread opposition throughout the region in the run-up to the GM Mayor election, but the intent is clear.
Indeed, the Mayor is now spending vast amounts of money constructing CYCLOPS junctions in our town, which perversely have the intent of deliberately creating congestion over a lengthy period to dissuade car usage. Not only is this a complete waste of money but is typical of the desire to put political ideology over the interests of local residents in our area.
I have fought a long campaign against the imposition of Mr Burnham’s original scheme. I am delighted that the Prime Minister has ordered a review of controversial anti-car schemes being rolled out across Britain.
The Labour Party have also come clean about their desire to concrete over our area’s green belt. Sir Keir Starmer has confirmed that local authorities would be given more power to build on green belt land if the party wins the next general election.
Sir Keir confirmed that if he became Prime Minister, he would go further than just reinstating mandatory housing targets adding that the situation is currently “essentially broken.”
Indeed, the desire of the Labour Party to build houses on the green belt nationally is reflected locally in Bury. Despite having the opportunity to withdraw from GM’s strategic housing masterplan Places for Everyone, it appears that Bury Council’s ruling Labour Group is ploughing on regardless.
This plan proposes removing the green belt status of land at Walshaw and Elton Reservoir and other parts of the Borough. Supported by every Labour councillor in Bury North, this gives the green light to the loss of precious areas of countryside that benefit us all.
It sums up the smoke and mirrors of Labour policy on this issue when at the last local elections, two Labour councillors in Elton ward who voted in favour of the plan then campaigned to remove the Elton site after it had been submitted to the planning Inspector!
I am pleased the Labour Party have clarified their policy in these important areas, and for all those who wish to see the destruction of our green belt and a clean air charging zone apparently based upon the hated ULEZ, then a vote for Labour will deliver that.
For the sake of everyone in Bury North, let’s all stand together to protect the interests of our fellow residents and ensure Labour never have the chance to enact these policies.