Who should I vote for in Bolton local elections 2022? Policies of each party explained
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Voters will elect a third of councillors in Bolton on Thursday (5 May) with the current make up at the Town Hall finely balanced.
Bolton is the only Greater Manchester borough currently led by the Conservatives although they do so by relying on an agreement with smaller parties.
They are currently the largest party on the council with 22 councillors, Labour have 17 and the Liberal Democrats five.
That leaves 16 other councillors made up of independents and hyperlocal parties such as Horwich and Blackrod First and Farnworth and Kearsley First.
Only a third of the 60 seats are up for election this week which makes it unlikely that there will be massive shifts in the number of councillors for each party.
To become the biggest party Labour would have to gain at least three seats from the Conservatives.
It is likely that whichever party has the most councillors on Friday morning they will need to form some kind of agreement with smaller parties to form an administration.
When gaining power in 2019 the Tories did this with both the Liberal Democrats and Horwich and Blackrod First members, among others.
However, the co-operation between Conservatives and both of those parties has broken down since leaving an unclear picture going into Thursday’s poll.
Key issues in the borough are the clean air zone for the region and future town centre regeneration.
Candidates from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Reform/Bolton for Change will contest every ward.
The Green Party are fielding several candidates and are joined by a number of independents and hyperlocal parties including Farnworth and Kearsley First, Horwich and Blackrod First, Little Lever and Darcy Lever First, One Kearsley and Westhoughton First.
The polls are are open from 7am until 10pm on Thursday, May 5 and counting of votes will take place in the early hours of Friday.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the leaders of major parties in Bolton to provide a short statement directly to voters ahead of Thursday’s elections.
Martyn Cox, the Conservative leader, said: “For 40 years the Labour Party ran Bolton, three years short years ago you voted for change.
“Our priorities are clear, investing in our roads and pavements, £12m so far, with more to come.
“Investing in our town and district centres, since 2019 we have attracted a further £90m.
“We have promised to protect our greenbelt and green spaces by prioritising housing projects on brown field sites.
“We are bidding for £70m of levelling up money for the town centre and to solve traffic issues in the west of Bolton.
“Some people want to be negative about the future of our town, we are NOT we think we can create a better future.
“With currently nine different ‘groups’ on the council, this is a recipe for chaos.
“Only the Conservatives offer a real alternative to Labour, a vote for any other party risks taking us back, when we know we can take the town forward.”
Labour leader Nick Peel, said: “Covid 19 has dominated our lives, causing fear and tragedy.
“There is anger with Boris Johnson for flouting his own rules and lying about it.
“Local Tories and national Tories are the same thing, and they must be reminded of this on election day.
“Bolton Labour has great plans for change.
“This includes new partnerships between the council and residents, tackling local issues, like the scourge of fly tipping.
“We will invest in new green enterprises, tree planting and new pocket parks.
“Under the Tory Council, progress on improving Bolton town centre has halted.
“Their incompetence led to the loss of a £16m grant for Crompton Place redevelopment, because they forgot to send an email.
“A new Labour Council will ensure that these plans still happen.”
Liberal Democrat leader, Roger Hayes, said: “We played a major part in removing the previous Labour administration.
“They are still not fit to run the borough.
“Conservatives promised transparent decisions.
“They are increasingly arrogant and out of touch, and trying to ‘buy’ votes in just the way that Labour did.
“Conservatives are responsible for the continued decline of Bolton, cutting around £250 million funding.
“They have worsened the cost of living crisis by raising NI; doing nothing to tax individuals and companies benefiting from offshore tax havens and windfall profits.
“They partied while local people died.
“Forget Conservative and Labour hype – neither will have overall control.
“Anybody wanting to run Bolton will need to talk to Liberal Democrats and other parties.
“With a candidate in every ward, we look set to increase our number of councillors.
“Every vote will give us strength for the talks that will have to take place.”
Reform/Bolton for Change
Trevor Jones, leader of Reform/Bolton for Change, said: “Bolton For Change was founded because a large number of the borough’s residents feel let down with both Labour and the Conservatives.
“We have seen no improvement in our town since the Conservatives took control away from Labour three years ago.
“The people are sick of being lied to with false promises of improvement which never happen.
“They claim to be for the people, but then increase council tax by 3.8% forcing families into hardship.
“They introduced CAZ which if it goes ahead will ruin local business.
“On the other hand they say we have £35 million in cuts.
“None of this benefits the people or the local economy..
“It’s time for change and that won’t happen until we have proper independent representation in our council and that’s why we now have 20 Bolton For Change candidates standing covering every single ward.”
Bolton Green Party
Aĺañ Johnson from Bolton Green Party, said: “Green candidates are committed to lobbying the Government for more funding to build more affordable social housing, and also provide adequate funds to allow Bolton Council
to carry out a mass insulation programme on thousands of Bolton homes, to help keep energy cost down, during this energy crisis,
“Having energy efficient homes not only make bills cheaper it also helps tackle climate change, so this is a no brainer.
“Bolton Greens led a successful campaign to save Haslam Park from development, when the council wanted to a build secondary school on the park, after mass opposition from the community, the council decided to look for an aĺtèrnative site.
“Many areas of Bolton suffer greatly from fly tipping, voĺunteer litter picking teams do their best but the problem ìs overwhelming.
“Ģreen councillors will campaign and argue for more action in finding and penalising the culprits.”
Farnworth and Kearsley First
Paul Sanders, from Farnworth and Kearsley First, said: “When Farnworth and Kearsley First started out five years ago, we aimed to raise political engagement, put pride back in our towns and to seek out investment to help redress the years of decline. F&KF are delivering on these aims.
“For The Sunday Times to recognise our area an up-and-coming place to live in the Northwest is a huge transition from where we were and one we should all be celebrating.
“F&KF always aim to stay positive, particularly during elections, this year’s campaign has been extremely tough as we have faced a barrage of negativity and character assassinations from those who want a piece of what F&KF have worked so hard to create.
“There is more work to do for Farnworth and Kearsley to advance access to services, continue to improve our facilities and the environment, and support local community groups.
“When you place your x, please support positive progress and vote for your Farnworth and Kearsley First candidate.”
Horwich and Blackrod First
David Grant from Horwich and Blackrod First, said: “Horwich & Blackrod First Independents are fielding two candidates in the Horwich & Blackrod Wards.
“Town Councillor Sam Williamson and Ryan Bamforth are both local residents and business owners who will be looking to continue the great work HBFI have been doing in the community.
“Only HBFI are locally led and locally focused putting the needs of local residents and our two historic towns first.
“HBFI’s Pledges are enshrines into our constitution – to raise awareness of political and social justice in the towns of Horwich & Blackrod, to represent the views and best interests of residents and to seek partnership and community involvement in improving lives and reducing poverty in the towns of Horwich & Blackrod.
“Community focussed, community driven HBFI your local party making Horwich and Blackrod a better place to live, learn, work and play.”
Westhoughton First independents
Westhoughton First independents said their priorities were a fairer share of the Bolton budget, campaigning for better and more visible policing, establish a youth programme to enhance young lives and tackle issues of anti-social behaviour, make Westhoughton a Fairtrade town and work with local business to boost small shops and the high street.
A spokesman for One Kearsley, said: “One Kearsley candidate – Debbie Newall – has put together a great manifesto for residents to consider.
“The campaign leaflet focuses on positive change and how we will go about achieving these aims.
“We feel that all of Debbie’s pledges are achievable, and if elected, we will keep residents regularly updated on the progress of each of these specific pledges.
“We firmly believe in the traditional form of campaigning in which we both get out on the streets and try to hand residents our campaign leaflet and also get
feedback on people’s aspirations and concerns for their neighbourhood and Kearsley and its villages.
“We have urged residents to research claims made by all political parties in their campaign leaflets and have welcomed open debate.
“The feedback from residents has been incredibly positive and we will be working right up to the end of the campaign to try to speak to as many people as possible.”