Conservatives call on Wakefield voters to help them challenge 'complacent' Labour

The Conservatives have made their pitch ahead of next week's local elections
The Conservatives have made their pitch ahead of next week's local elections

Wakefield's Conservative group has urged voters to make them a bigger opposition with more councillors to challenge the Labour-run local authority.

The Tories cannot mathematically overturn Labour's majority in the district at the local elections on May 2, but they are targeting a number of key marginal seats as they look to increase the size of their 11-strong group of councillors.

Conservative group leader Nadeem Ahmed

Conservative group leader Nadeem Ahmed

The group, fronted by opposition leader Nadeem Ahmed, is calling for different areas to be prioritised for spending, repeating many of the suggestions they made during the recent debate on the council's budget for the next 12 months.

The Conservatives also say they would cut council tax if they had control of the council and cut allowances for elected members by half.

Coun Ahmed said: "Labour's been running this area for the last 30 or 40 plus years now.

"But they need to realise they don't own it anymore.

"Wakefield needs a bigger, stronger opposition, which would make sure the council is run more efficiently. When you get a big majority, as Labour have got, you get complacent.

"We need to bring them into the current era of politics, because they've had it a bit too easy for too long now.

Coun Ahmed said that he would axe public payments for trade union officials and restated his belief that a new indoor market should be placed within the empty BHS building on the cathedral precinct, as part of plans to "modernise" the city centre.

He also said: "Wakefield's missing a lot of things to make it thrive as a city. One of those things is a university, which would bring more young people into the area and spending money.

"We should also move to all out elections every four years. People don't understand why we have to do elections nearly every year, and there's no need really for three councillors per ward."

On council tax, he added: "Since I've been elected, council tax has gone up by an average of 4.5 per cent every single year.

"Some people are paying around 60 to 70 per cent more than they were 14 years ago, and for very little return."

This article is part of a series of profile pieces about the political parties and independent candidates standing in the local elections in Wakefield. Each profile will appear on our websites in the run-up to polling day.

Number of candidates standing - 21

Phil Davies - Ackworth, North Elmsall and Upton

Eamonn Mullins - Airedale and Ferry Fryston

Anthony Hill - Altofts and Whitwood

Joanne Smart - Castleford Central and Glasshoughton

James Hardwick - Crofton, Ryhill and Walton

Rodney Williams - Featherstone

Nathaniel Harvey - Hemsworth

Simon Fishwick - Horbury and South Ossett

Josh Spencer - Knottingley

Luke Thomas - Normanton

Angela Taylor - Ossett

Christopher Hyomes - Pontefract North

Tony Hames - Pontefract South

Pepe Ruzvidzo - South Elmsall and South Kirkby

Gillian Laidler - Stanley and Outwood

Dianne Presha - Wakefield East

Margaret Holwell - Wakefield North

Ian Sanders - Wakefield Rural

Karl Johnson - Wakefield South

Tony Ayoade - Wakefield West

Henry Drabble - Wrenthorpe and Outwood West

Local Democracy Reporting Service