500 Words Shazad Hussain

Firstly, thank you for the opportunity to be able to put forward vision for Dresden and Florence and the City of Stoke-on-Trent on PitsnPots.

I am extremely, proud to have been chosen by the Labour Party, to be a candidate in the ward in which I live and have grown up in.

I have worked hard alongside my predecessor, Cllr Bagh Ali, to improve Dresden and Florence.

Tough decisions have had to be made by the council in Stoke-on-Trent due to the horrific cuts imposed on us by the Conservative and Liberal Government.

But Labour have worked tirelessly to make sure that any cuts in Stoke-on-Trent protected services that we believe people need. In particular, Labour listened to residents concerns over Children s Centres it is down to your Labour Councillors that none have closed.

As a Labour Councillor, working as a positive team, I want to see the regeneration of our City continue, bringing in business, visitors and jobs.

Despite these tough times, if I get elected, I will be committed to putting people first, and my three top priorities are:

* More good quality, well paid jobs by attracting new employers by building on our strengths, sorting out our weaknesses and promoting the City.

* A great start in life for our young people, by continuing to provide excellent education and defending Children s Centres

* Creating a Council you can be proud of, that is responsive to your needs, listens and delivers excellent services across the City.

If you want a strong local voice to stand up for Dresden and Florence then vote for me. I promise I will repay you by working hard for the area in which i live.

500 Words from Matt Wright

I can remember saying during my stint as a TUSC candidate in the general election last year that no matter which of the 3 main pro-capitalist, pro-big business parties won the election, we would be paying for the bail out of the banking system with our jobs, services and living standards.

Fast-forward 12 months and we have the spectacle of a Labour council- a Labour council (!) passing on Tory cuts with only token resistance. It’s a scene that is being repeated across the country.

A week after Stoke council voted through £36m in cuts it came to light that the council had, in fact, over £60m stashed away in reserves. Instead of using some of this money to stop cuts in jobs and services they are using over £20m of it in redundancy pay outs to staff. It’s true that Community Voice and the BNP voted against the cuts, but where was their alternative budget?

So what would I do?

I will be fighting cuts and privatisation tooth and nail. But opposition in words is not enough, neither is simply voting against cuts. What I will do is propose alternatives to cuts and privatisation.

I would propose that we -

* Set a ‘needs budget’ that would take in to account what we NEED as a city, not just what we can afford from the measly government handouts.

* Use a combination of council reserves and prudential borrowing powers to stop, and even reverse the spending cuts inflicted on the city.

* Launch a massive campaign across the city to demand more money from the government, that links up with trade unions, community groups and communities.

I will also be demanding that the council -

* Embarks on a huge program of building council houses to relieve our massive social housing waiting lists and create jobs.

* Call in any decision by local NHS trusts to make redundancies as a result of ‘over spending’ or funding cuts.

* Bring as many of the privatised council services back ‘in house’ to stop our council tax lining the pockets of big business.

Say it can’t be done?

Take a look at the example of Liverpool city council in the 80′s. They launched a similar campaign against Thatcher’s government and won the equivalent of £60m back and built over 5000 houses, 5 leisure centres and created 2000 jobs in the process.

More information here-

http://www.liverpool47.org/legacy/legacy.htm

I’ve been involved in many campaigns over the last 6 years or so. I’ve been fighting back against the low wages, privatisations, cuts and wars imposed on us by the last Labour government. I have also been supporting and building support for workers across the city who were taking strike action against these attacks. I’m also organiser for North Staffs Against Cuts which has been instrumental in building the anti-cuts movement in north Staffs. Whether I’m elected or not I will continue to fight in the interests of working class people across the city.

500 Words From Mike Barnes

This year’s local elections are more important than ever for the City, as well as for Dresden and Florence. My priority is to protect and continue the great improvements in Dresden and Florence that have been achieved over the last few years by the hard working community groups, Dresden Residents Association, Florence Residents Association and the Queens Park Partnership working alongside myself.

I am extremely pleased that Lilian Dodd, from Dresden Res Assoc and Queens Park Partnership has proposed my nomination in the election along with many others including Sue Walley, chair of Queens Park Partnership and Steve Mallam who plans and organises many of the events in Longton Park.

There have been many successes, top of the list is the transformation of Longton Park, which only a couple of years ago was in a terrible state, but working together it is once again becoming the Park I certainly remember as a boy growing up in the area.

Whilst I do take a prominent and active role in the council itself, my ward and community work has always been my first priority. Working with the local volunteers we have a new community hall opening shortly as well as a new community garden designed by pupils from a local high school. Notice boards have been erected to keep residents informed, new fencing in many areas to deal with anti social behaviour. We authorised £8,000 for extra policing in our area as well as £36,000 for 4 part time youth workers. The Park has had new fishing pegs, a fountain, a new playground, bridge repaired, a new adult gym, path improvements, bandstand has been painted and a bid has gone in for a cafe. Through ward funding I’ve paid for Florence Bowling Club to have a new lawn mower, the scout hall has had a new heating system and the local luncheon club for the elderly has had a new potato peeler. Three local volunteer youth clubs have been given £12,000 between them for equipment. There is lots, lots more I could list.

As your councillor I don’t claim to have made a difference to Dresden and Florence on my own. We are extremely lucky to have 3 hard working community groups without whom none of the improvements would have been possible, and its a privilege to see people who care, get up and do stuff, instead of just moaning about it. We’ve done it together and I want the chance to carry on being a part of that and hope that you will vote for me on May 5th.

I have lived all of my life in and around Dresden and Florence and would love to continue to help maintain what I think is a great place to live.

On a City level my priority will be to continue to passionately fight to protect the services that mean the most to people, particularly those that affect the most vulnerable ““ the elderly, disabled and children, which seem to be easy targets for the cuts and constantly under threat.

My no nonsense, “say it how it is” work in the council has seen plans for posh offices for officers and senior councillors costing £800,000 scrapped; the number of consultants slashed as well as countless wrongdoing and mismanagement exposed. Hopefully this means we can start to move forward in a positive way. It doesn’t always win me too many friends at the council but I never give up on an issue and this has paid dividends time and again in helping local residents with issues and changing the council’s mind on important matters that affect every one of us.

I am also very proud to have led the campaign that got rid of the Elected Mayor system, the only successful campaign of its kind in the country.

My aim is to continue to represent you, Dresden and Florence as well as the City with the same passion and commitment I have shown since last being elected in 2007.

Please consider voting for me, Mike Barnes, on May 5th. I won’t let you down.

Take the party out of politics.