It’s nearly three weeks since the local elections and though very busy sorting out forming an administration for the next twelve months, I’ve been able to reflect on the message that was sent to us by the electorate.
The last twelve months have been a traumatic time for the communities of Blackburn with Darwen; horrendous cuts in funding have been made, services have been threatened and job cuts have been made not only in the Council but elsewhere in the Health Service and education sectors and in private companies across the Borough.
In case we have forgotten, the outcome of last years General Election led to the formation of the Coalition Government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Unsurprisingly nowhere in either of the Liberal or Tories manifesto’s did it give the slightest hint that they were proposing to inflict pain and cuts on the most vulnerable in society, particularly in areas like ours, cutting vital grants and investment in housing, schools and across the key voluntary and charitable sectors.
On May 5th the electors had the chance to have their say on what has been going on both nationally and locally, where up to last September, the Tories and Liberals with support of the For Darwen Party, they had run the Council.
The election gave voters some clear choices here in Blackburn & Darwen. Did they, for example, want an administration that spent money recklessly on buying up vacant business properties and refurbishing the Town Hall whilst closing Leisure Centres and cutting community based services? Or did they want an administration that would stand up for them, listen to them and most of all protect their key services?
The response from the electorate was clear and unequivocal. They wanted Labour to run the Council and as consequence Labour now has 38 Councillors and a working majority of 12.
As Labour forms an administration for the next twelve months we are aware that things will not be easy. However we pledge the mandate the people of this Borough has given us will be used wisely and responsibly. As a result we intend to carry on the work we agreed to undertake when taking control last September and we will continue to work for the entire Borough not just the areas we represent.
We also promise to use our mandate to support the vulnerable and those who rely on Council Services and we will do our utmost to act as a buffer against the excessive attacks on our communities from the Tory led Coalition Government whose main interests remain. elsewhere.