Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Statement by Cllr Andrew Cooper on misinformation in the Labour Election leaflet in the Newsome Ward

There is a disappointing and misleading attack on the Green Party in the Labour Party Election leaflet in the Newsome Ward.

There is a statement in the leaflet which says,

“I would rather the elderly and disabled were cared for than £4.5 million spent on electric vehicles as was proposed by Newsome Green Councillors budget amendment”

The £4.5 million we identified in the Council Budget was not being used by the Labour run council to fund services for the elderly and disabled nor could this particular source of funding be used in this way.

The Labour Cabinet said that this funding was to be spent on Regeneration projects mostly in this financial year. Officers informed us that there was no way that that Labour could spend the money they had allocated in the time they had identified.

The Green Party proposed to use the funding to replace Kirklees vehicles which were reaching the end of their useful life and would have to be replaced anyway.

The £4.5 million was Capital (non recurring) funding which could only be used once and so could not be used to fund council services for the elderly and disabled anyway.

As Electric vehicles require less maintenance and have lower running costs the Green Party amendment would actually save the Council money against the ongoing costs of continuing to use petrol and diesel vehicles.

With Air Quality being such a hot topic in the Huddersfield area this was a way of Kirklees showing leadership on reducing air polluton. So this was very much a public health issue as much as it was an environmental one.

The Labour Deputy Leader who was leading on the Kirklees Budget had indicated that the electric vehicles part of the Green Party amendment would be acceptable should Labour not get their budget passed in the Council’s Budget meeting and should they need Green Councillors support to get their budget through.

We are aware that the Labour Councillor for Dalton and Cabinet Member Mus Khan is involved in the Newsome Labour Candidate's campaign and we believe she has been poorly advised. Labour Cabinet members should be well informed about the realities of the Council finances and so we can only assume that this attack is a deliberate attempt to mislead electors.

It is disappointing when these sort of tactics are used. It doesn't help people's faith in politics and politicians as a whole when some parties have to resort to misinformation in pursuit of votes.

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