A Bold New Vision for Newcastle

A Bold New Vision for Newcastle

The Newcastle upon Tyne Community First Party has today launched its manifesto the local elections in May 2011.

Newcastle First has put jobs, education, homes and reinvigorating democracy at the centre of its campaign for the local elections. The party’s aim is to win back the city from the politician councillors and will be fielding seven candidates who share an ambition to reintroduce community politics to Newcastle.

Jason Smith, the party leader, said: “The politics in our city is broken. It is run by politician councillors representing old-fashioned parties who spend too much time squabbling over which of them has let down our city most. Not enough time is spent in the council chamber debating the issues that really matter to local people.

“As a principle, we believe council tax should be kept as low as possible whilst delivering effective public services. We  also believe we need to take action now to improve the education and health outcomes for our residents and to tackle the jobs crisis on the horizon through the squeeze on council and other public sector employment.

“Our manifesto sets out our vision for Newcastle and our ten key priorities. They are: Jobs for Geordies; 2000 new homes; an education our young people deserve; a 5 year council tax freeze; defending our fields; supporting vulnerable citizens; protecting local shops and ending the car parking stealth tax. We also set out proposals for a new kind of politics and strengthening street-level democracy in Newcastle.

“We have set out a bold, ambitious vision for the future of our city and in the weeks ahead, we intend to convince the voters of Denton, Elswick, Fenham, Lemington, Newburn, Walker and Westerhope that it’s time to put Newcastle first.”

The party will be fielding seven candidates in city council elections:

  • Denton Ward – Alan McKenna
  • Elswick Ward – James Alder
  • Fenham Ward – John Gordon
  • Lemington Ward – Wendy Thackray
  • Newburn Ward – Olga Shorton
  • Walker Ward – Ernie Shorton
  • Westerhope Ward – Jason Smith

The manifesto highlights ten key priorities:

Jobs for Geordies 

We will fight to create 10,000 new jobs in the next five years by implementing strategies and initiatives to attract new major businesses into the city, working with local people to create new businesses and building on the success of existing businesses to make Newcastle the enterprise capital of the North of England.

2,000 New Homes 

We will fight to build at least 2,000 new homes in the next five years in the areas originally designated as Going for Growth (Scotswood and Walker Riverside) and the Great Park.

Education Our Young People Deserve

We will aim for no young person to leave school with no GCSEs. We will also aim to bring attainment of 5 GCSEs A-C including Maths and English to the level of North Yorkshire within five years. Currently, the percentage of young people achieving this level is 49.5% for Newcastle and in North Yorkshire, it is 61.6%.

Council Tax Freeze

We will learn from local authorities with lower council tax levels and ensure that council tax is frozen for five years.

Defending Our Fields

We will ensure that no green open spaces in the city used by local people are built on.

A New Kind of Politics

We will fight to make the council more responsive to the needs of local people and will introduce a new right for citizens of Newcastle to challenge the council. We will campaign for an Elected Mayor for Newcastle in the forthcoming referendum.

Strengthen Democracy

We will create more people-run local councils working at street level with the power to force city council action and accountability on local issues. We will encourage the transfer of services from city to the most local level possible.

We believe our proposals for a new generation of local councils will create a golden age of community democracy in Newcastle and ultimately result in a cut in the number of paid city councillors. The national parties have created the right legislative framework for new local councils but we are the first party in Newcastle to develop policies to make this a reality here in Newcastle.

Supporting Vulnerable Citizens

We will take a stand against the Lib Dem attack on the most vulnerable in our society by reversing the cuts to the Citizens Advice Bureau in Newcastle and we will halt the closure of the Westerhope Day Care Centre and Chirton House.

End the Car Parking Stealth Tax

We will cut the Sunday car parking charges and expand the Alive After Five to cover all city centre car parks run by the council. This will create at least 500 jobs by allowing Newcastle to compete on equal terms with the MetroCentre.

Protecting Local Shops

We will protect local shops from big supermarket expansion. Local shops are the lifeblood of our local communities.

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