WITH the local Council elections taking place on May 6, the Telegraph & Argus has asked each political party fielding five or more candidates to tell readers why they should back their candidates.

Today is the turn of the Liberal Democrats.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Councillor Jeanette Sunderland said: “For Liberal Democrats tackling inequality, improving services to children and young people and responding to the climate emergency are top of our to-do list.

“Inequalities are hugely costly. The burden of ill-health and lost opportunity caused by the failure of Children’s Services in Bradford and continuing poor educational achievement, low standards of housing and the quality of our environment leads to greater use of health and social care service. This results in higher unemployment, lower productivity and resulting poor economic performance and under investment.

“These challenges cannot be solved by the Council giving away cash or raising the bar to accessing services. This process simply cements inequality into the system leading to fewer high quality jobs, poorer quality housing and lower family incomes. This perpetuates disadvantage and inequality. Similarly, they cannot be solved by just blaming the Government. We have to do this together.

“Our approach is to “Do no harm”. Liberal Democrats want the Council to make a start by stopping doing the things that cause us, our children and our planet harm.

“To respond to climate change the Council must stop trying to be property developers and become proper custodians of public health in all its forms, including the health of our planet.

“To start with Liberal Democrats would support research and development for innovative businesses to develop new technologies to support a circular economy. Followed by start-up funding to support businesses to advance those technologies to support growth in jobs, reduce consumption and protect our planet by enabling a truly circular economy.

“We would also introduce Green Assemblies this would enable local Councillors to implement projects that put the health of our planet first. From the adoption of unloved spaces and green corners, to the connection of large areas of greenspace with a network of Country Parks we would give all of our diverse communities’ access to a natural environment on their doorstep.

“Liberal Democrats would also encourage the investigation of alternative solutions to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles by means other than electricity. This is in line with our belief that a circular economy would best suit our District.

"For Liberal Democrats, the District must have an equally strong focus on improving Children’s Services. We must stop denying children the opportunity to be their best.

"We must support Children’s Services by providing an additional £3m per years for the next three years to make sure our we can meet the needs of our most vulnerable children. We will create a model of universal access to services for young people in community settings and make sure there are enough leisure opportunities and facilities to improve young people’s wellbeing. Liberal Democrats will give young people somewhere to meet, something to do and someone to talk to as we recover from the pandemic.

"A Liberal Democrat run Council would create Community Involvement Partnerships to support young people in transition between schools, colleges or university. As well as for those young people on an apprenticeship and those entering the world of work. The remit of the Community Involvement Partnerships would also include support and mentoring, help with work placements and supporting young people not in school.

"And to keep Bradford’s services and schools on track for success we would also appoint an independent Children’s Commissioner for the District, with particular focus on monitoring the post Covid-19 education recovery plan, making sure it is maintained and gets to where it is needed.

"Our approach to the District must be to tackle inequality and harm being caused to our most vulnerable children and the climate. To do this we must change the way the Council works and thinks.

"If you like these ideas, then please support your Liberal Democrat candidate on 6th May."