Kirklees Council candidate statements: Heckmondwike

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

Alan John Freeman (Green Party)

Alan is an ex-RAF engineer who has also had careers in IT, briefly as a psychologist and now works in technical sales. He lives in Heckmondwike with his six-year-old and his interest in politics is driven by wanting a better future for his son. Consequently, the big issues that are important to him are the environment, education and healthcare. He looks forward to being able to help continue the good work done by the current Green Party councillors with respect to housing insulation and alternative power production and he believes there should be more local control over schools and hospitals. His promise to the voters of Heckmondwike is to always be available and approachable to discuss the issues and concerns that are important to them and to do his best to present them at council.

Aleks Lukic (UK Independence Party)

I currently work as a teacher in Heckmondwike and I am proud to be associated with our town. I live just outside the edge of the Heckmondwike ward; the boundary runs down the middle of my street! Around the country, UKIP councillors are renowned by residents for being practical and offering something a bit different. We aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty – whether that’s patrolling the streets, litter picking or gritting pavements. We have a strict no-whipping policy, because our councillors should answer to their constituents first. Council Tax on Band A homes in Heckmondwike will soon top the £1,000 mark. I want to make sure ratepayers get value for money. That means defending Heckmondwike Library, the only civic building we have left. I signed the petition against its potential closure. Under the present circumstances with open door EU immigration, Kirklees needs to build 2,000 new homes a year. Heckmondwike is already massively developed and I will defend our few remaining green spaces tooth and nail. Vote UKIP, Get LUKIC on both your ballot papers – I’m in a position to take on both councillor and MP roles and work flat out for you!

Josie Pugsley (Liberal Democrats)

I am a local mother of two children who are still at school. I am running for election because I want to make a difference for the communities I live in and where my children grow up. I support the local Lib Dem plan to get decisions about Heckmondwike made in Heckmondwike and the Spen Valley because we are the people who know the area best. We all know that these are tough times and that budgets are not endless (I know this from running my own household). However, the priorities must be for the young and for the old. So it is vital that we keep our children’s centre open providing services for young families. I am pleased that the Lib Dems in Government have introduced free school meals for very young children and are committed to extend this to all primary age children. It makes a big difference to family budgets and ensures that all children get a hot, healthy meal. I want Heckmondwike to be a thriving community where people want to live and work. Heckmondwike town centre must be supported by the council so it can be a thriving place.

David Paul Sheard (Labour Party)

I have lived in this area all my life. I am not ashamed to say I like living here and wish to live nowhere else. That is not to say things cannot get better, or that there is no risk that they could get worse. That is why I am asking for your vote to do all I can to protect and enhance the area we live in. Money is tight, the current Government has shifted resources to the South and has decided that local government should receive the bulk of the cuts it has decided to make. Local government provides services for many vulnerable people. After schools, social care is the biggest spending service. There are more old people each year many with more complicated needs. To help those people, and just as important, to help the people who care for them is essential as things get harder. To make things better for everyone, we need more homes more jobs and more care. The Labour Party is committed to the growth we need to provide the care people deserve.

Robert James Michael Thornton (Conservative Party)

I am delighted with the opportunity to represent the Conservatives at the Kirklees Council elections in Heckmondwike. A manager for a chemical company with two young children, I am a local person who has lived in the ward and surrounding area all my life. Because of this I fully understand the resident’s problems – just when Kirklees needs strong leadership we have old Labour in charge. I want to devolve control and split Kirklees into local districts with the power and budgets inside these to prevent Huddersfield-obsessed Kirklees constantly taking more than its share. Freezing council tax, keeping Libraries/museums open, crossing patrols, road repairs, neighbourhood police, reducing bureaucracy and protecting what is left of our greenbelt are my priorities. My opponent, who is your local councillor and leader of the council, has increased your council tax and is scrapping our services, constantly blaming central government for this rather than providing proactive leadership this council needs. Further to that he allows your money that should be spent in Heckmondwike to go to Huddersfield central, giving £500,000 a year to trade unions and handing out outrageous car allowances. Vote for me on May 7 and together we can change this.

Karl James David Varley (Patriotic Socialist Party)

No statement supplied.