Election 2014: Wandsworth parties set out stalls for voters
With less than a week until local elections in Wandsworth, we look at the manifestos of the main political parties seeking your vote on May 22.
The Conservatives' pièce de résistance is their record for the lowest council in Britain over the last 25 years.
Council leader Ravi Govindia
In this year’s manifesto the party set out their dedication to continue keeping council tax low stating this is achieved through savings, department mergers, staff reductions and delivering frontline services in with businesses and the voluntary sector.
However, despite allowing people to keep more money in their pockets, the council has been criticised for its cuts to public services at the expense of the borough’s most vulnerable people.
This year the Conservatives have pledged to continue opening new schools, improving neighbourhoods and securing better transport.
They have also promised to continue investing in town centres and attracting jobs with huge transformations already taking place in Nine Elms and at Battersea Power Station, to deliver affordable housing and invest £100m in the borough’s housing estates.
The leader of Wandsworth Ravi Govindia told the Wandsworth Guardian the biggest things that stood out to him over the last four years was the granting of the northern line extension, the council’s work with troubled families and improvements in schools.
He said: "We have maintained a low council tax, pledged to continue that and we continue to grow and improve our services. At a time when financial pressure is tight we have to find new ways of both saving and providing services."
Labour kicked off their campaign with a pledge of ‘same council tax, new priorities’.
The party’s strongholds are Latchmere, Tooting, Furzedown and Graveney but they launched a trail in a Tory held ward, Queenstown, on the Doddington and Rollo Estate on Sunday, April 27.
Councillor Rex Osborn, Wandsworth Labour leader
Labour are looking to beat the current number of councillors held, 13, by freezing council tax while also making Wandsworth cleaner and safer.
This year the Wandsworth Labour party commissioned a group of ex-local government finance experts to look into how to keep council tax low while protecting frontline services.
They have made a number of pledges including maintaining low council tax with a freeze until 2016, stronger enforcement to stop littering and dog fouling and prioritising new primary school places in areas that need them.
They have also pledged to give more say to residents and stricter controls on new developments, more affordable homes to buy and rent and a 20mph speed limit on residentional roads.
Councillor Rex Osborn, Wandsworth Labour leader, said: "The Independent Commission showed how Labour can freeze the council tax in Wandsworth and still make our borough better for local residents, with a set of strong election pledges - that is why our slogan is same council tax, new priorities.
"After 36 years of the Tories running down Wandsworth services, it is time for a fresh approach."
The former Labour MP for Battersea Martin Linton is running to be councillor in Shaftesbury, where he has lived since 1975.
Mr Linton represented Battersea from 1997 to 2010, when he was unseated by the area’s current MP Jane Ellison.
The Liberal Democrats have no councillors in the borough but are looking to make a breakthrough in the Labour stronghold of Tooting.
The party has 42 councillors competing for votes and is focusing on Tooting as an area it feels has been overlooked and let down by the council and councillors.
Jon Irwin is running for councillor in Tooting
They promise to stand up for Tooting in the town hall and to enforce fly-tipping rules so as to prevent fly-tipping happening in the first place.
The party also want public bins on the streets running off Tooting High Street because people often find litter in their gardens.
Jon Irwin, who is running for councillor in Tooting, has been campaigning for safer roads in Tooting and is a member of Wandsworth Cycling Campaign.
He said: "We want to tackle some of the real traffic problems found in Tooting and make the area safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
"We are already working with the council to bring new, innovative solutions to the problems of rat-running in Tooting, but we want to go further.
"We will push the council to conduct a full strategic review of traffic in Tooting, with specific focus on improving traffic flow and passages for pedestrians around Tooting Broadway."
The group also want to crack down on betting shops in Tooting and bring diverse businesses to the high street.
The new kids on the block, the UK Independence Party have put forward a candidate in almost every ward in an attempt to tackle Tory dominance.
The most high profile candidate is the disgraced former MP Neil Hamilton who is running for councillor in St Mary’s Park where he has lived for 35 years.
Ukip’s election 2014 campaign is a huge contrast to the 2010 election when not a single UKIP candidate stood in the Wandsworth elections.
It has emerged that two candidates had to pull out at the last minute due to bad health but the group insist they will still provide the UKIP option for Wandsworth and are out trying to earn voters from those dissatisfied with the established parties.
UKIP candidate Hugo Van Randwyck, who is running in West Hill, said: "We are also emphasising that an influx of people has led to a shortage of housing, selling off playing fields over the years, higher rents and house prices, lower disposable income, more need for two income families, and also the high energy prices and food bills due to tariffs on imported food.
Hugo Van Randwyck
"As power has been centralised in the EU, so has wealth in fewer and fewer people, and the other 90 per cent are not getting better off.
"Lower living costs means less need for high taxes to fund benefits. UKIP will tackle the root causes and help local people and their families."
The Green Party has candidates standing in every ward to ensure every voter has a green alternative.
The motto of the Wandsworth Green Party is a commitment to working for the common good and it argues that the current drive for austerity budgets will lead to higher costs in the long run in both social and financial terms.
Joe Stuart is the candidate for Queenstown and active in community groups on the Doddington estate
A spokesperson for the party, said: "In Wandsworth our first focus area is reducing pollution and working for safer streets in the borough by extending the 20mph limit.
"Currently the council, unlike most other Inner London boroughs, has declared it will not consult residents on a Borough-wide 20mph speed limit unless there is ‘substantial evidence of strong Borough-wide support'. The Green Party knows that support is out there and will work to ensure that residents are fully aware of what is at stake.
"Our second key focus area is working to ensure that the current huge regeneration projects in Wandsworth keep a balance between the needs of developers and the needs of the community.
"We want to avoid a two-tier society where super wealthy absentee property owners squeeze out the ordinary people of Wandsworth and longstanding residents can no longer afford to live in the borough.
"For us this means keeping the pressure up for the provision of affordable housing and ensuring that our planning system is fair and people friendly."
Lois Davis is standing in St Mary’s Park and has campaigned to save the NHS from privatisation and was involved in the campaign to save Battersea Park Adventure playground last year.
Bruce Mackenzie is standing in Nightingale Ward and actively in campaigns against the bedroom Tax
Comments are closed on this article.