Kirklees Council candidate statements: Birstall and Birkenshaw

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We’ve invited each of the candidates hoping to represent Birstall and Birkenshaw on Kirklees Council to tell us why they deserve your vote on May 7.

Joyce Holbrook (UK Independence Party)

No statement supplied.

Elizabeth Emma Lucy Kitchin (Green Party)

I have lived in the area for over nine years with my husband and two children, whom I home educate. Recent education reforms have increased pressure on both teachers and children and I believe in education that is child-led and not target driven. I also feel that strong, effective anti-bullying policies are vital to protect vulnerable children. I will always support parents’ rights to educate their children in settings other than schools. Having two children with Special Educational Needs, I know that, at both local and national level, SEN support services are over-stretched. Local services could be greatly improved. I completely oppose privatisation of the NHS and the downgrading of Dewsbury hospital. For a more positive future for all, I believe in national policies that are anti-austerity and that fight inequality. National Green Party policies include: a National living wage (£10 per hour by 2020); scrap tuition fees; abolish the bedroom tax and build 500,000 social rented homes; phasing out fossil fuel energy and nuclear power; nationalise the railways and cutting fares by 10 per cent; opposing the creeping privatisation of the NHS and making mental health services more of a priority.

Robert Christopher Light (Conservative Party)

As the only candidate who lives and works in the ward I appreciate the issues that we face across Birstall, Birkenshaw and East Bierley. I run my own business in Birkenshaw and my children attend local schools. As a team dedicated to getting the best for our area councillors Palfreeman, Smaje and myself are committed to fight Labour’s reductions in council services that are disproportionately impacting on Birstall and Birkenshaw. I will oppose Labour’s plans to close Birstall Library, close Birstall Market, scrap our mobile libraries and close our community centres. I believe Labour’s plans to reduce basic services in our ward, such as street cleaning, maintaining our parks and repairing roads whilst maintaining them in Huddersfield is totally unacceptable. Kirklees should devolve control of both budgets and services to local areas, so that communities including Birstall and Birkenshaw can determine the priorities for what council services are provided in our area. I will always be a strong voice for Birstall, Birkenshaw and East Bierley both inside and outside Kirklees. I am passionate about my local community and I commit myself to continue to fight for the best future for the ward.

Megan Nicole Scholefield-Nicholson (Liberal Democrats)

I’m 23 years old. I am standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate for two good reasons: 1. My age group have a lot to offer, but are not always heard. 2. I support the Lib Dem policies for young people. Hundreds more young people have great opportunities to become apprentices and get the first step into a career. Lib Dems are also committed to cutting the cost of bus travel for young people in college or apprenticeships. There are many other residents who feel as cut out of local affairs as young people such as older people, the less well-off, and the housebound. Everyone needs a voice and I am prepared to stand up for those who get left out. I support the local Lib Dems in wanting to have decisions about our area taken locally: NOT in Huddersfield and NOT in Dewsbury either. I want to see our streets well repaired, safe and clean. I will work with the police to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. And I will listen to your views and be a strong representative of our community.

Dathan James Tedesco (Labour Party)

I am standing for election in the Birstall and Birkenshaw ward to make a positive difference to people in our area. When you cast your vote on May 7th, think local. Labour in Kirklees is fighting hard to save services, protect the most vulnerable, and bring investment, jobs and growth to the local economy. Everybody knows the council is under huge pressure because of the unfair cuts imposed on it by the government. But we are listening to local people and making the tough decisions. The cuts are unfair, and they do put services at risk. But I do not believe it’s the job of a councillor to complain about the hand we’ve been dealt. If elected I will get on with the job and make the best of it. That’s what I would want from my local councillor. Working together we have already safeguarded many vital local services, but there is much more to do. I hope you will consider supporting me on Thursday May 7.