Party manifestos launched ahead of Derbyshire County Council Local Elections 2021
Next month, an election will decide who will be in control of Derbyshire County Council for the next four years.
On Thursday, May 6, all 64 seats – known as divisions – on the authority will be up for grabs and thousands of voters across the county will be deciding who fills them.
Votes cast in person on polling day and in the post over the next few weeks will be counted throughout Friday, May 7, when results will be announced.
These votes will decide who makes decisions on our behalf on key matters such as adult and children’s social care, road repairs, libraries, public health and much more.
The Conservative Party is currently in control of the authority, and has been for the past four years, holding a majority with 36 seats. The Labour Party holds 24 seats, followed by the Liberal Democrats with three seats and one vacant seat in Staveley, previously held by Labour.
Each of the major parties contesting the upcoming council election has now released their pledges to voters, the reasons they are asking residents to vote for them – wrapped up in manifestos.
Here is what each of the political parties are pledging in their manifestos:
The Conservative Party
The Conservatives have released a 12-page manifesto broken down into six sections, which are:
- Aspiring for Derbyshire Young People: Our Bright Future
- Supporting Older and Vulnerable People and Staying Healthy: Providing the Best Care and Support We Can
- Derbyshire Conservatives Investing in a Cleaner, Greener, More Vibrant Economy
- Creating Jobs and Skills: a Vibrant Economy and Quality Jobs
- Record-Breaking Investment in our Roads, Cleaner Air, Road Safety and Public Transport
- Supporting our Communities, Our Libraries & Cultural Economy and Protecting our Heritage
The manifesto includes pledges to provide school crossing patrols ‘where they are most needed’; a Laptops for Derbyshire scheme to ensure every child in the county has access to a laptop for learning; £375,000 in grants for youth activities; 1,000 new apprenticeships and work placements; £300,000 for a pilot to help combat mental health issues among young people; and support for the campaign for a sixth form in Bolsover.
Pledges on adult health and social care include investing £5 million into plans to help unblock hospital beds, to ensure older people return to their own homes from healthcare services sooner.
There is also a plan to carry out 5,000 health, safety and welfare checks at the homes of Derbyshire residents aged 80+. A scheme providing 5,000 half-day breaks to voluntary full-time carers would be continued.
There would also be a £500,000 support and respite scheme for young carers and a £375,000 grant fund for voluntary groups and sports clubs aiming to boost healthy lifestyles.
On the environment and climate change, the Derbyshire Conservatives are pledging to devise a plan to reduce traffic within the Peak District National Park and countryside.
The party pledges to develop a £100 million scheme to invest in green infrastructure such as cycling and walking routes and clean air schemes. They aim to plant one million trees in Derbyshire by 2030.
Two towns would have 20mph zone trials to promote clean air and cycling. There is an aim to bring in 1,000 electric vehicle charging points by 2025.
The Conservatives say they will work to develop two hydrogen fuel stations in Derbyshire and 30 hydrogen-powered buses and refuse collection vehicles by 2025.
They aim to restore the peat moor in the Peak District.
On business, jobs and the economy, the Conservatives aim to create ‘critical economic growth’ in Bolsover and work to form a Shirebrook Growth Corridor.
Plans to roll broadband internet out across Derbyshire would continue and small firms would be able to access a Covid support package worth £200,000.
On roads and transport, the Conservatives aim to build an Ashbourne Bypass and a bypass for Swarkestone Causeway and will continue work to deliver the Mottram Bypass and Glossop Spur. Speed reduction schemes and clean air zones would be introduced in towns and villages ‘where local people support it’.
There would be free companion bus passes for disabled public transport pass holders. Another pledge is to create a £250,000 electric bike subsidy to encourage more eBikes in the county.
The Conservatives pledge that “no libraries will close on our watch” and that arts and culture will be supported – including a £1 million cultural recovery grant scheme.
They also say they will work with other organisations to regenerate the Belper Mills complex including retail and residential development. Work to regenerate Elvaston Castle will also continue.
The Labour Party
Instead of a traditional manifesto document, this time around the Derbyshire Labour Party has launched five brief pledges.
- Rebuild our local economy
- Invest in our young people
- Improve care for our elderly
- Take real climate action
- Deliver better, safer roads
To support these key pledges, the Derbyshire Labour Party has provided some additional information.
It says it will end the outsourcing of jobs to agency staff and consultants to ensure taxpayer money is spent on delivering local services, carried out by local residents.
The party says it will invest in new projects for young people and increase apprenticeship places across the county.
It says it will protect local care homes, deliver a high standard of care and restore the allocation of long-term places in council-run care homes.
The party pledges to promote green investment and to improve green transport infrastructure, help residents affected by flooding, and seek support to repair existing flood damage.
It says it would bring in a first time fix policy for road repairs and potholes; to reprioritise footpath, cycleway and road projects; and it is backing the ‘20 is plenty’ 20mph speed limit campaign.
The Liberal Democrats
Derbyshire’s Liberal Democrats have released an 11-page manifesto, broken down into democracy, economy, environment and society.
The party pledges that its councillors would be ‘community champions’ who will work closely with councillors across the political divide.
It would oppose plans to replace local councils with larger ‘super’ authorities, due to this move potentially seeing the removal of local decision-making. This includes opposition to a single council for Derbyshire.
If the Liberal Democrats, often known as Lib Dems, were to take control of the county council, they say they would scrap the current cabinet system and replace it with a slew of cross-party committees. They would also bring in a 10 per cent cut to councillor allowances and mileage expenses.
The party says it would look to invest in green energy.
It says it would protect and enhance high-quality early years learning.
The Derbyshire Lib Dems say they would make better use of the county council’s estate to find ways to invest in its land and properties to increase income, including renewable energy developments.
They say they would protect the county’s libraries and work with community groups to take over council-run facilities and extend opening hours and maximise the use of the mobile libraries.
It says schools would have more control over their spending and ensure school leaders do not have to make the decision between improving education or repairing buildings.
The Lib Dems pledge to invest in sustainable travel including travel to and from school.
The group also pledges support to traffic calming and 20mph zones ‘where they can be cost-effective’.
It aims to speed up and improve the quality of pothole repairs.
The party pledges to change the time settings of neighbouring traffic lights so that motorists who stick to the speed limit are given a ‘green wave’.
It aims to continue investment in LED street lights and find ways to reintroduce buses to isolated communities in which bus services have been cut.
The party says the climate emergency would be at the centre of each of its decisions.
It is seeking to reduce inequality; boost mental health services; and provide further education on smoking, a healthy diet, drug and alcohol addiction. It also pledges to support community transport schemes, particularly for the elderly and disabled.
The Derbyshire Liberal Democrats say they would like to see the role of Police and Crime Commissioner abolished in order to save money.
The Green Party
The Green Party has devised several manifestos for different parts of Derbyshire. A 12-page manifesto for the Chesterfield, Bolsover and North East Derbyshire area details how the party will be ‘putting people before politics’. The party aims to ‘revive our communities, protect our green spaces and build for the future’.
It says its members will be able to vote independently and that decisions would be made transparently.
The party says it will work to reform local transport and work with transport firms to implement standard ticket prices across the board. It pledges to invest in attractive and safe walking and cycling routes. It pledges to investigate the feasibility of opening up new rail routes and railway stations to ease congestion on roads. The party says it will aim to identify congestion hotspots and put in place measures to ease traffic and cut travel times and pollution. It is also campaigning for 20mph speed limits in residential areas.
The Derbyshire Green Party pledges to significantly increase tree planting and stop badger culling on all council land. It says it would provide support to charities, community groups and farmers to plant trees, ‘rewild’ and restore local areas.
It says it will encourage the reuse and recycling of waste and ensure that ‘nothing is wasted’. The party says it would divest (pull investment back) from environmentally harmful and financially unsound companies.
It says it would oppose the increase in privatisation of care services; increase funding for dementia care, mental health and disability support; and fund and restore youth services, especially for those with special educational needs.
The party pledges to improve home insulation and make renewable energy accessible to everyone; smart housing would be built which is less vulnerable to flooding; local transport links would be improved and green spaces would be protected against “inappropriate” developments.
It says it would use the council’s spending power to support local business and bring in new apprenticeship schemes.