Council elections 2021: Labour unveils Norfolk manifesto

Voters in Norwich go to the polls next week. Pic: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Labour has unveiled its manifesto for the 2021 Norfolk County Council elections - Credit: PA

Labour has unveiled its manifesto for the Norfolk County Council elections, saying the party is ready to take over the running of County Hall.

The Conservatives have a majority, but the Labour group believes gains can be made when the county goes to the polls in May.

Its manifesto includes a pledge to restore the youth service which was axed a decade ago, to reopen closed children's centres and to take social care back in house.

Further promises include more money to tackle domestic abuse and violence, free entry to Norfolk museums one day a month for people who live in the county and what the group describes as a "radical transport plan".

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group, said: "This is a manifesto for an administration in waiting. We are ready to take over immediately if the electorate want us to.

"Part of the manifesto is making sure we are investing in the future of our young people of all abilities and all needs."

The manifesto was launched at a virtual meeting, with an introduction from Steve Reed, the Labour Party's shadow minister for local government.

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Questioned over how his group would pay for the manifesto pledges, Mr Morphew said money in the budget could be "repurposed".

But he admitted the lack of clarity from central government on longer-term local government funding meant he could not provide definitive answers.

He said: "We saw in the budget there is short-term money available for the Covid recovery so some of that could be repurposed.

"But, whoever is in power, because of the lack of clarity about local government financing, that does mean annual budgets are likely to need to be restructured depending on that.

"However, we would save money by not building new roads, such as the Western Link.

"While quite a lot of that money would come from government, some of the costs - and the interest on it - would come from the public purse, so money we would save by not building that could be used."

Norfolk County Council at County Hall in Norwich

All 84 Norfolk County Council seats are up for election. - Credit: Archant

Norfolk County Council's political make-up is Conservatives 52, Labour 16, Liberal Democrats nine, Independent three, Independent (non-aligned) one, non-aligned one and two vacancies.

People go to the polls on Thursday, May 6, with all 84 seats up for grabs.