WITH less than a week to go until polling day in this year’s May elections, the Observer has asked the four party leaders at the Guidhall for the thoughts ahead of residents casting their votes on Thursday (May 5).
Voters will be going to the polls in 12 of the city’s 15 wards, because the City Council currently holds elections in three out of every four years, with a third of councillors being elected each time.
This year there will also be an additional by-election in the Nunnery ward, following the recent resignation of Jim Carver as a councillor.
Elections will be held for councillors in Battenhall; Bedwardine; Cathedral; Claines; Gorse Hill; Nunnery; Rainbow Hill; St John; St Peter’s Parish; Warndon; Warndon Parish North; and Warndon Parish South.
Speaking ahead of polling day, Coun Marc Bayliss – Conservative Party chief and leader of Worcester City Council said: “We’ve enjoyed getting out and about and take no seat or the votes of the people of Worcester for granted.
“Just last weekend we not only had Robin Walker with us on the doorsteps but were delighted to have the support of Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
“Under the Conservatives, Worcester has seen millions of pounds in investment. A vote for the Conservatives on May 5 will be a vote for a party which believes in this city and its residents.”
Labour group leader Coun Adrian Gregson stressed the importance of Labour candidates’ ties to the local area.
“Labour in Worcester is about local action, hearing and responding to local issues, delivering local services and supporting local business,” he said.
As local councillors we live in the city so we know and understand our local communities. We work in the city so we know and understand the needs of local businesses, large and small. And because we are part of the city we share in the frustrations with public transport, we experience traffic delays and parking nightmares, we enjoy our culture and our heritage, our green parks and our riverside.
“We use the pubs and restaurants, the shops, the leisure centres. We hear what needs improving or addressing and we know when to celebrate and invest time and resources because we can see it ourselves, every day.
“All because we are in the same place as the people we represent.
Green Party leader, Coun Louis Stephen said: “Our main focus is on the cost-of-living crisis. The cost of food and energy is going up dramatically and it’s no wonder there is an unprecedented demand for help from the foodbank.
“What can you expect from electing more Green councillors? Landlords are responsible for providing safe and efficient homes that don’t cost the earth to heat yet it is the tenants who normally pay the electricity and gas bills – so there is very little incentive for landlords to improve energy efficiency.
“Due partly to our efforts the council is now working with the city’s landlords to make sure their houses reach at least a reasonable level of energy efficiency – we expect the council to take swift action against any landlord that is illegally letting a house that breaks the rules.
“This will save tenants money and help look after the environment too. If you believe we need more action on environmental and social justice please vote Green on May 5.”
Liberal Democrat group leader Coun Mel Allcott, said: “We are campaigning on the economy for our residents and will lobby government to reduce unfair taxes and reinstate the scrapped triple lock for pensions. Giant oil and gas companies have made record profits and must contribute more in taxes.
“Residents must have better access to public services and will work across councils to do all we can to improve this. Government must train more GPs so we know we can easily see a GP when we need to.
“We will work seriously to reduce congestion and pollution alongside improvements for active travel and bus provision. The Conservative-led County Council failed to secure any bus funding with its last bid.