Birth of new Labour - in Colchester
A POLITICAL party decimated at the ballot box and ripped apart by bickering is ready to regroup and launch a fresh assault for power, its leader said.Mauled at May's local elections when they ended up with just four seats on Colchester Borough Council, the town hall's Labour group yesterdayset out a raft of new policies in its bid to win back the "trust" of the people.
A POLITICAL party decimated at the ballot box and ripped apart by bickering is ready to regroup and launch a fresh assault for power, its leader said.
Mauled at May's local elections when they ended up with just four seats on Colchester Borough Council, the town hall's Labour group yesterday
set out a raft of new policies in its bid to win back the "trust" of the people.
At a news conference to launch its glossy new policy document, labelled Back in the Real World, Labour leader on the borough council, Tim Young, said the electorate had had enough of the "grandiose schemes" currently being pursued by the council's "arrogant" ruling Lib Democrat-Tory coalition.
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He said his party had been knocking on doors across the borough asking voters what they thought their priorities should be.
As part of a package of measures to "realign" council spending to the tune of £1million, funding for the town's Mercury Theatre will be cut back if the party has its way.
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Mr Young said: "We want to see the theatre thrive and survive, but they can't rely on the council. There were gasps of horror when we realised they received £250,000 from the council.
"We will look at ways of reducing that grant over a five to 10 year period."
Instead, he said, more money had to be spent on doubling the number of street cleaners and wardens as well as introducing free bus travel for pensioners.
Claiming the internal feuding that saw two local councillors resign from the party to become independents were now a thing of the past, Mr Young said it was now the ruling administration that was in trouble.
He said: "The council has lost its way. They've become far too concerned about themselves and are mesmerised about the long term.
"It's all very well talking about a vision in 20 years time, but we've been talking to people on their doorsteps and what we are hearing is a great deal of concern about day-to-day issues – they want graffiti wiped away and pot holes filled in."
He added: "These visions are just a mask to disguise the dirty streets, the broken windows, the abandoned cars and the vandalised bus shelters."
Commenting on Labour's plan to cut theatre Mercury Theatre chief executive Dee Evans said: "All of the arts are fundamental, not only to the quality of life in Colchester, but also to the vision for the economic and social development of the borough.
"The council's investment in our work has generated an additional £1million inward investment into the local economy this year alone.
"I haven't had the opportunity to read the Labour Strategic Plan for Colchester yet, but I am sure that no party would jeopardise the future development of this wonderful town."