Britain’s towns had a higher profile at this year’s Labour Party Conference than they have ever had. In addition to both Labour: COAST&COUNTRY (LCC) fringes, they were on the agenda of a Fabian fringe, a CPRE/Hastoe event, as well as other sessions where Lisa Nandy MP among others had an opportunity to speak up for towns everywhere. And then post conference Labour’s party political broadcast jointed the party and spoke up for ‘your town’.
The local elections of 2019 offer Labour a real chance to land some of this understanding, as that election is almost exclusively being held at the district council tier, the councils that service many of the towns we are seeking to win.
LCC has always campaigned for the district and country council elections to have a bespoke national agenda that properly spoke to those places, and wasn’t a re-tread of a general election or urban take on life. As one speaker at our fringes said “these elections aren’t about saving the NHS!!”. No indeed, they are about the issues of rural and coastal communities who have less access to services than their urban friends, that have fewer choices of secondary education or primary care services, who see austerity making their town or village suffer, disconnecting them with the almost abolition of bus services, and leaving them a dumping ground for the 1,000 new home estate.
With the ‘your town’ party political broadcast we can see the powers that be are getting it; to help them set the right tone for Labour’s campaigning in 2019 at conference we launched ‘A Manifesto for 2019’. Please read or download it here; share it widely with your CLP, your district council candidates, and of course send us and the shadow front bench your thoughts on it!