Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn meets Morecambe voters on weekend walkabout visit
Jeremy Corbyn was on a campaign visit to Morecambe on Saturday ahead of May’s local elections.
The Labour leader joined local Labour candidates in launching their manifesto with pledges to tackle poverty, act on climate change and invest in housing.
After addressing members at the War Memorial Hall he headed out to knock on doors and speak to voters, joined by parliamentary candidate Lizzi Collinge.
One member said Mr Caorbyn was “enthusiastically received” and “engaged well with local people” and said he listened to local residents and gave them hope.
Mr Corbyn said: “It is great to spend the day in Morecambe listening to people as Labour launches the local elections campaign.
“Like Labour councils across the country, despite crippling Tory cuts, Lancaster City Council has stood up for this community and the services people rely on.
“I have spoken to people here who are desperate for a change in government to put more money into schools, police and social care.
“Labour will rebuild our country with investment in services and communities so they can thrive once again, instead of more of the same failed austerity and cuts with the Tories. We need to elect as many Labour councillors as possible on May 2 to send a message to this Government that real change is needed and austerity must end.”
Lizzi Collinge said: “I was pleased to welcome Jeremy Corbyn to Morecambe in support of our local elections campaign. He was out on the doorstep with us speaking to local people about the issues that matter to them and will take those concerns back to parliament.
“Local government affects our lives every day in so many different ways – from the homes and streets we live in to the parks and leisure facilities we visit on a weekend. Labour locally has a bold and ambitious plan for our district, building on the work of the last four years, despite Conservative cuts.
“Schemes like Operation Peregrine, which tackles fly tipping, and the Home Improvement team who help residents have warm, safe homes show how committed Labour is to getting things done for local residents.
“I know that Labour nationally also has that commitment for the people I spoke to with Jeremy, whether that’s the young care worker trying to make ends meet or the 92 year old retiree relying on a decent NHS.”
Mr Corbyn also visited the Praying Shell sculpture, which was installed in Bolton-le-Sands by local artist Anthony Padgett shortly after the cockling disaster in Morecambe Bay 15 years ago. Labour is committed to expanding workers’ rights and ensuring that no worker has to endure exploitative conditions that led to this tragedy.
Coun Darren Clifford, who was part of the working group which drafted the new Labour plans, said: “This manifesto builds on Labour’s many local successes over the last four years, achieved in the face of crippling funding cuts by the Conservative Government which have seen the council’s funding slashed from £15m to less than £6m.
“These include the fantastic development of Salt Ayre Leisure Centre, investment in CCTV, tackling fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour, improvements to council houses and work to prevent homelessness. We have also shown real leadership in working with communities to confront climate change, oppose fracking and respond to flooding – including through new prevention schemes in Morecambe and on Caton Road.
“These exciting plans draw on more than 16,000 conversations Labour activists have had on the doorstep with residents since the general election – something we do more than any other party.
“It’s a bold, ambitious vision, which strengthens frontline services, protecting them from cuts and privatisation. It makes our streets even cleaner and safer, supports regeneration, jobs and the economy, invests in housing, the arts and leisure, helps those who need help the most and protects our environment. We will work in close partnership with local people to make these plans a reality and ensure a brighter future for everyone.”
Labour currently runs Lancaster City Council, but with a majority of just one going into the election on Thursday, May 2.
The manifesto pledges to fight poverty, and clean streets and safety are also a priority, with extra resources to be put into tackling dog poo, fly-tipping and other anti-social behaviour.
The manifesto says a Labour-led council would look at serving a compulsory purchase order on the owners of the derelict Frontierland site in Morecambe - to enable the council to buy the land and facilitate a community-led development if progress is not made soon on stalled plans for a retail development.
It highlights Labour’s support in principle for the proposed Eden Project North in Morecambe, as well as support for arts and leisure, independent traders, the creative and digital sectors and ‘community wealth building’ to help ensure money is spent locally by the council and businesses so it benefits local people.