Leeds Labour Manifesto 2019

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Since the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition came into power back in 2010, Leeds City Council has had £1.5 billion taken from us by successive Governments.

The scale and effect of these cuts cannot be overestimated.

The Government has brought in a mismanaged Universal Credit, NHS privatisation, the bedroom tax, cuts to education, fewer police officers and a completely mismanaged Brexit.

In spite of this, Leeds under Labour is fighting back and gaining a great reputation for putting our people first.

We have introduced the real living wage, kept work in house, brought new jobs to our city and not closed a single children’s centre.

Just think where our city could be now without the Conservative government holding us back.

So we say, enough of cuts.  Thursday May 2nd all of us will have the chance to send an unmistakable message to this Conservative Government by supporting our candidates and voting Labour.

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council


Growing up in Leeds

Our ambition is for Leeds to be the best city for all our children and young people to grow up in a Child Friendly City.

We have seen the number of children in Leeds in care safely reduced through investment in early help, working with families and a council-wide commitment to children and young people.  This is in direct contrast to the national picture which has shown Conservative cuts to be having a hugely detrimental effect on our children and young people, with the number of children going into care nationally increasing by 7%.

Under Labour, Leeds City Council has not closed any children’s centres.

Keeping all of Leeds’ 56 children centres open has been an absolute priority for us and makes sense morally, economically and for the future of those young people growing up.  Unless children have the best start in life there can be a whole host of problems further down the line.

This focus has led to Ofsted finding Leeds City Council’s Children’s Services “Outstanding.”

We are one of only four Councils in the UK to be Outstanding, and the only city.  Labour investment has paid off.

Labour retained funding for the Education Improvement service.  While schools results in Leeds are not yet where we would want them to be, this continued investment from Labour has seen English and Maths results at High School improve almost four times faster than the equivalent nationally.

We have seen increasing child poverty, caused by ideological austerity from the Conservative Party in Government.

With increasing austerity we have seen a huge increase in period poverty.  We knew already that food banks are always desperate to stock more sanitary products, but we are now seeing young girls missing school while on their period, or choosing between eating and buying tampons.

Under Labour, Leeds City Council began a pilot scheme to tackle period poverty, working with different schools and speaking to the girls and young women who know best about what they need.  In partnership with a number of businesses across Leeds, we will be rolling out a city wide scheme of free sanitary products in schools, libraries and community hubs later this year.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) need a particular focus and Labour will support these children and their families throughout their education and beyond.  While the Government cut money that would be used to support these children, Leeds City Council is now working with families of children with SEND to do what is best for them.  We have an improved transport scheme in consultation with families and we have put new measures in place to ensure that young people with SEND continue to receive five days provision when they move into post-16 learning.

Leeds City Council has already created over 11,000 new primary school places and we are now looking to create more secondary school places to meet demand.  We will open a new school for children with SEND, as well as ensure provision for post-19 education increases, and provide secondary school places across the city.

The Conservative government continues to make providing an education for our children difficult through cutting funding for all schools, refusing to repair school buildings and forcing schools to academise.  Labour in Leeds will fight against this, and always push for the funding the children of Leeds deserve.


The Leeds Economy

Labour want a Leeds economy that works for the many, and not the few.

At the heart of this is our inclusive growth strategy.  This sets out how Leeds City Council, the private sector, universities, colleges and schools, the third sector and social enterprises in the city will work together to grow the Leeds economy ensuring that everyone in the city can benefit from the significant growth that is happening.

We are working with anchor institutions – locally rooted organisations such as the universities, hospitals and big businesses – to make a positive contribution to our city.  These anchors can embed good practice, workers’ rights and support inclusion to create good jobs in our city.

Leeds must promote a positive, outward looking image on the global stage and seek to increase inward investment, exports and tourism.  We’ve seen already how our city is growing positively, with the announcement of Channel 4 coming to Leeds and the successive jobs in the creative sector that followed.

Under Labour, Leeds City Council is fully behind Leeds 2023, a year long celebration of our heritage and culture.  Leeds will harness the energy of all the city to celebrate our cultural life.  This will transform Leeds into a global cultural city. It will help bring visitors, jobs, new skills and economic growth.

We are proud that under Labour, Leeds City Council is signed up to the TUC’s Great Jobs Agenda.  Everyone at work deserves a great job where the worker is paid and treated fairly, with opportunities to progress, to learn and to have a voice on what matters.

Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that two thirds of the households in poverty contain at least one adult that is in work, these families equate to approximately 8 million people across the UK.  It is clear that ‘a job, any job’ is no longer a guaranteed route out of poverty.  The increased use of zero hour contracts raises concerns about exploitation by some employers and the degree to which workers can assert their employment rights, and a lack of financial stability and security.

Like all major cities in the UK, congestion is increasing and journey times are getting longer. Labour recognises that the growth of commuter traffic is unsustainable and damaging to the environment. Our strategy is to attract people back to public transport and to double bus patronage by 2028, encourage healthy travel options, while making significant investments in the road network.

Work on the new park and ride at Stourton will start this Summer, while extensions are planned for the highly successful park & ride sites at Elland Road and Temple Green. These are already taking 9000 cars a week out of the city centre. Corridor improvements on the A61 both south and north of the city, on the A660, the A647 and the A58 will improve the reliability and speed up the journey times of buses without any adverse impact on other road users. There are plans for new railway stations at Thorpe Park, White Rose and Leeds Bradford Airport.

We are also investing in the road network. Work has started on the East Leeds Orbital Road, the largest infrastructure project in the city for half a century, which will relieve congestion for communities like Cross Gates and Seacroft as well as providing a catalyst  for 5,000 new homes in the East Leeds Extension.

A cycle way will connect with new cycling facilities on the Outer Ring Road through to North Leeds. Other improvements in the pipeline include the Armley Gyratory – the Achilles’ heel of transport in the city – and Dawson’s Corner.

In 2011 the Tory-Lib Dem government cancelled a scheme to prevent flooding on the Aire, only to change their minds two years later.  On Boxing Day 2015 work was still in progress as floods hit the city, costing the city’s economy more than the flood alleviation scheme.

Since then, the first stage of the innovative Flood Alleviation Scheme has been completed and proposals for the Phase Two have been put to the Tory government, which has refused to fully fund them. Rather than delay the scheme, we are pressing ahead with a limited scheme while continuing to fight for additional funding to deliver the entirety of the proposals.

We won’t give up until we have delivered the full Aire proposals, which will involve massive tree planting In the Aire catchment and a large area to hold flood water.

Work is also continuing on flood prevention in Otley and a number of solutions to localised flooding.


Homes for Leeds

With Labour, over the next few years we are going to build more than a thousand new council homes in Leeds.

All our new homes will be energy efficient and built to a high standard, designed to meet the needs of people in the 21st century.  These new homes are desperately needed as waiting lists for council properties continue to grow.

This will be the biggest council house building programme Leeds City Council has seen since the early 1980s. By the end of 2020 we will have delivered more than 1,000 council homes.

The government’s ‘right to buy’ scheme is causing the Council’s housing stock to continue to be reduced.  Until we have a Labour government who can pause right to buy, Leeds City Council must do everything it can to increase the housing stock available.

Nationally we have seen an increase to homelessness and rough sleeping thanks to the ideological Conservative austerity.  In Leeds we have one of the lowest levels of rough sleeping out of all cities in the UK.

We’re so proud that under Labour, Leeds City Council ensures that there are always more beds available than there are rough sleepers, although there can be complex reasons why people may not take up this offer.  Once people are in accommodation we will provide a whole host of support to help get them back on their feet long-term.  We are investing £300,000 in our innovative street support team to provide drug and alcohol support services to ensure people are helped long term.


Health and growing old in Leeds

Supporting three quarters of a million citizens, Leeds’ health and care system has much to be proud of with world class examples and a history of public health innovation stemming back over a century and a half.

The Council’s health and wellbeing strategy re-emphasises the importance of improving the health of the poorest, reducing health inequalities and crucially putting people at the centre of everything we do.

In Leeds we retain our determination to treat people with dignity, to enable everyone to play a part in helping Leeds to be the best city for health and wellbeing and a place where people live better, longer and happier lives.

62.5 percent of Leeds City Council’s budget is now spent on adult and children’s social care.  While this has significantly impacted on other areas of Council funding it demonstrates Leeds Labour’s commitment to protecting our most vulnerable.

Under Labour, Leeds City Council will be setting up a dementia care network.  With additional funding of £36,000 for the team to support 15 independent sector homes to train workers.

Last year we invested significantly on mental health.  This year we will invest a further £500,000 on a new scheme to ensure children in Leeds with mental health are able to get the support they need.  It is time that mental health is treated on a par with physical health.

Chances of survival increase to 90 percent if a defibrillator is used within the first minute of a heart attack.  Under Labour, Leeds City Council will provide 50 new public access defibrillators across our city.

The Conservatives in government originally promised that NHS funding would not be cut, but this promise has been broken.  Instead the Conservatives transferred public health to councils, and then cut the funding to councils.


Making Leeds green

Scientists are clear – we are facing a climate emergency.

Last year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report on the state of climate science, warning that if the planet warmed by 1.5°C there would be devastating consequences, such as the loss of most coral reefs, and increased extreme weather such as heatwaves and floods.

Under Labour, Leeds City Council has now declared a climate emergency and pledged to make Leeds carbon-neutral by 2030.  Leeds is the largest council in the UK to have done so.

This is in stark contrast to the Conservatives who are refusing to acknowledge this global catastrophe.  In his budget last year, the Chancellor didn’t even mention climate change and locally the Leeds Conservatives refused to vote on the Climate Emergency motion.

We desperately need a Labour Government to tackle this global problem – but until then Leeds will do our part.

Areas of the UK have now turned to Fracking, but under Labour, Leeds City Council believes this is not and nor should ever be an option.

Next year Leeds City Council will introduce the city’s clean air zone to reduce air pollution and protect the health of everyone in Leeds.

This will reduce air pollution in Leeds by encouraging businesses to transition to cleaner, less polluting vehicles that won’t be subject to daily charges. It will be the largest zone of its kind in the country.  All money raised from the clean air zone will be reinvested into making our city’s air cleaner.

We have already seen some positive effects of this work, with new ultra-low emission Euro VI engine buses being introduced to Leeds.  We will continue to work with Metro and the bus companies to encourage a greater adoption of this before the clean air zone comes into effect.

To help businesses switch to cleaner vehicles and avoid charges, we will be offering a range of support packages for affected businesses based within the boundary of the clean air zone as well as installing 30 charge points in and around Leeds within the next year, making it easier and more accessible for residents to do their bit.

As part of this, Leeds City Council under Labour has been leading by example and investing in a move to electric vehicles.  We now have the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the UK.

Reducing the number of cars that come into the city centre is also a priority.  The park and ride we have already introduced at Temple Green and Elland Road have been hugely successful and take 9000 cars off the road every week.  We will be expanding these across the city – including in North and South Leeds.

We also need to drastically reduce the amount we put into landfill.  On average, every household in Leeds produces 470kg of household waste per year at the kerbside and we currently recycle around 40 percent of that waste.  We will push that recycling rate to 50 percent by next year and will continue to lobby the government for the proper funding so we can go even further.

Looking more locally, there were 1892 reports of dog fouling across Leeds.  Labour have now introduced new fines of up to £100 for people failing to pick up their dog’s mess and this has already led to a reduction in reports of fouling.


How we run your council

With Labour running Leeds City Council, we ensure that our city has a strong economy but with compassion and socialism at the heart of everything we do.

Back in 2015 we raised the wages of the lowest paid employees to the level of the Living Wage Foundation real living wage.  We have not only kept up with this but now in 2019 we pay our lowest paid staff £9.18 an hour.  This is 18p higher than the real living wage and 97p higher than the government’s living wage.

Paying this Leeds living wage was something that the Government provided no funding towards but is essential in ensuring that people earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.

Additionally the gap between the lowest and highest paid in Leeds City Council is significantly lower than other councils and has largely been achieved by raising the wages of the lowest paid.

Looking to the future will will work to ensure that anyone doing any work on behalf of the Council can also be paid the real living wage, but also launching a living wage city campaign to work across the private and public sectors to made Leeds a living wage city.

Already the NHS in Leeds recently announced to become a real living wage employer, and along with Leeds City Council this accounts for the two largest employers in the city.

With living standards falling under the Conservatives, here in Leeds Labour in power will do everything we can to try to reverse that trend.

Under Labour, we have done our best to protect libraries and other services many people access.  We have achieved much of this by introducing new community hubs to a number of areas.  The hubs offer a mixture of library services, housing services, customer services and job search advice.  Under Labour we will continue to roll out more of these community hubs across the city.

Leeds City Council remains the largest employer in Leeds largely due to the volume of services we have kept in-house.  Under Labour Leeds City Council is proud to have more insourced jobs than any other Council in the UK, and will continue to do so.

We will continue to look to where we can bring further services in-house in future.

There have been no compulsory redundancies.  This gives job security to our workers and a stability of service to our residents.  We will continue to have this as a priority despite ongoing cuts from the Conservative Government.

We are also proud to be an inclusive employer with Leeds City Council featuring in Stonewall’s top 100 employers for LGBT+ people for two years running.

We were disappointed recently to see the government reject the One Yorkshire devolution plan that Council leaders across all of Yorkshire had put together.  The proposal would have seen some powers given to the county by central government.  It is vital that decisions that affect Yorkshire are made in Yorkshire as we know what is best for us.  The appetite for devolution is there and under Labour, Leeds City Council will continue to push for more powers and more money to be devolved from Whitehall to Yorkshire.

Under Labour we aim to run Leeds City Council in a way which Leeds can be proud of.  By treating workers right ensures that the work we do is of a high standard and benefits all the people of Leeds.


What Leeds Labour stands for

The Labour Party has always been about people. It was formed to give ordinary people a voice and has sought power in order to improve their lives.  Over the past century, we have been the Party of the many, not the few.

Labour in power delivered record investment in the NHS, in schools and in policing and across our public services.  The introduction of the national minimum wage and the New Deal meant more jobs paying a decent wage, while devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland put power in people’s hands while peace came to the latter through the landmark Good Friday Agreement.

In power Labour put into practice our values of equality and social justice, introducing Civil Partnerships, the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act and legislating for equality of opportunity for all.  We cancelled up to 100 per cent of debt for the world’s poorest countries and brought about the world’s first Climate Change Act.

Leeds Labour works to ensure that these Labour values of equality and solidarity pass through everything Leeds City Council does.  Ensuring that we build a strong economy with a compassionate city.

Socialism is at the heart of our party and is the bedrock of everything we do.

We see nationally the Conservative’s ongoing Windrush scandal and the hostile environment hitting BAME people hardest, failure to stand up for LGBT+ people, push austerity onto the shoulders of women – we see the real values of this Conservative government and we stand against it.

Leeds is a City of Sanctuary. We are proud to extend the welcome of our city to people who come here seeking safety.   We are committed to making our city a haven for anyone who needs its protection.

Leeds Labour is working with the Police and Crime Commissioner against Police Cuts forced on us.  The Conservative Government has cut 2000 police jobs across West Yorkshire since 2010.  Leeds City Council is putting in funding for PCSOs but this still cannot mitigate the cuts.

Residents tell us that anti-social behaviour and nuisance use of motor cycles must be a priority, and through our Safer Leeds strategy we are committed to ensuring that our residents’ priorities are our priorities.

Leeds Labour is fighting for a publicly owned and publicly run NHS, against Conservative moves to increasingly bring in more and more privatisation.

Leeds Labour supported the RMT union in their campaign to keep the guard on the train and were delighted that this campaign was successful.  The success of this campaign only goes to demonstrate that when we stand united against the Conservatives push to reduce services, we can be successful.  We stand against the annual imposed rail fare increases.

Leeds Labour will support disabled people to live full and independent lives.

Many people are falling into difficult times due to the government forcing through Universal Credit.  Universal Credit has increased rent arrears, pushed people further into debt, increased food bank usage and particularly hit women hard as payments now will most often be made to men in the household.  This move to Universal Credit is being imposed on Leeds.

Conservative austerity has increased the number of people living in poverty in Leeds to 164,000, with 26,000 of those being children.  Leeds Labour will do everything we can to mitigate the most harmful effects of austerity, but ultimately we need a General Election and we need a Labour government.

When Labour wins elections, it is the people and not the powerful who win.  The nurse, the teacher, the small trader, the builder, the office worker, the student, the carer win.  We all win.



Vote Labour, Thursday 2nd May 2019, 7am – 10pm


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