A fair city
I am proud of what we have achieved for Leicester during the difficult times we have experienced over the last decade or so.
Despite having to deal with a real-term 60% cut in funding for all non-care services, through careful financial management we have managed to avoid the crises other authorities have suffered. Unlike many other places, a range of key services have been protected. Leisure services, parks and library provision and weekly waste collections have all been retained.
A growing economy
The council continues to be an agent for economic growth in the city, securing investment, creating jobs and apprenticeships, managing major new developments such as those at the Waterside and Ashton Green, and creating workspace right across the city in key sectors.
Annual visitor numbers go from strength to strength, and our road and cycle network, schools, housing and public realm have been significantly improved. Leicester is now a better city in which to work, visit and invest than it was when I was first elected as City Mayor in 2011.
Leicester is also the most successful city economy in the East Midlands, further proof that our managed investment approach and work with partners works.
A fair economy
Of course, this economic growth must be enjoyed by the entire city. All neighbourhoods in Leicester should benefit from the city’s economic growth and one of my priorities this term will be to develop further job creation, and skills and investment plans for targeted parts of the city.
My priorities are not just economically driven, and the work of the council must be rooted in fairness, equality and social justice. That means doing away where possible with zero-hour contracts, the gig economy and hostile environments which demean people and erode their rights. Too many people are forced to work with no annual leave or workers’ rights, let alone trade union representation. Through the activities of the council, trade unions, other public sector partners and local businesses, Leicester must become a living wage city.
For those in most need, receiving welfare is a right and something that should be protected. It certainly should not be stigmatised, and support should be given to access that right. Through council services, I will work to make sure that everyone in Leicester receives their benefit entitlement.
My priorities include:
Fighting back against austerity:
- Protect, enhance and expand welfare rights service provision across the city
- Immediately campaign to maximise welfare take-up so that everyone in Leicester receives their benefit entitlement
- Continue to provide support to people suffering financial hardship (for example, through community support grants)
- Develop an anti-poverty strategy in the first year of the new term
- Continue to improve our decision-making and equality impact assessment process
- Establish a fair payday lending service to help reduce reliance on private high interest payday lenders
- Use our housing and energy companies to tackle housing shortages and fuel poverty; and
- Retain existing council tax discretionary payments for people on low incomes.
Investing in a fair economy
- Make Leicester a living wage city using the council as a provider and driver for better working conditions and workers’ rights across all sectors, including the textile industry
- Further increase the amount the council spends with local businesses, while securing more social investment, local job opportunities and training and apprenticeship opportunities through our procurement activities; and
- Secure more office and industrial employment space across Leicester.