Stephen Byers, Labour's transport, local government & regions secretary, speaking at the launch of Labour's local election campaign today said: 'Labour is the party that believes in social justice; in providing opportunities for all our people and recognises that we achieve far more collectively, working together then we ever can as individuals, isolated and on our own.
'That is why Labour in central government is working with local government in order to invest in strong communities.
'In this context what matters to people is the quality of life in their neighbourhood. It is often the so called little things that matter to people because they have to deal with them on a daily if not hourly basis.
- Whether their street is clean or whether it's filled with litter.
- Whether it's safe to let their children play outside without worrying about cars that have been abandoned and left dangerously on the street.
- Whether they feel safe walking back from the bus stop late at night.
- Whether or not the street lights work.
- Whether they can sleep at nights without their lives being made a misery by neighbours from hell
- Whether they can be rescued from a house, perhaps their own, in an area of abandonment.
'These are some of the key issues on which Labour is now taking pro-active action. making real improvements in peoples lives as a consequence.
'Under Labour, the grant to local government has gone up over 20 per cent in real terms. Under the Tories it fell - year after year after year.
'Labour has given local government the ability at last to respond to the needs and aspirations of their local communities. That's how it should be.
'They also know what life is like when the Liberal Democrats run our local councils. They see them hiking up the council tax one day and cutting back public services the next. People don't trust the Liberal Democrats because how can they? This is a party that will say one thing and do the other. That will promise one thing in one ward and promise precisely the other in the neighbouring ward. A franchise operation where you buy into the national brand and then do what you like locally.
'So there is a real choice at the local elections.
'It's a choice between the Tories who would cut our key public services, that do not believe in local government. Or the Lib Dems who frankly cannot be trusted in local government.
'Or Labour. A party that cares about local government. That believes in local democracy. That believes in investing in our key public services. Focusing on the things that matter in our local communities
'That is the clear choice at the local elections. Between Tory cuts, Lib Dem empty promises, and Labour committed to:
'Rebuilding our public services. Renewing our local democracy. Regenerating our local communities.
'Labour in action building local communities.'
Labour's commitment to education is building strong communities and safer streets - Morris
Estelle Morris, Labour's education secretary, speaking at the launch of Labour's local election campaign said: 'This morning I want to show how Labour's commitment to education is ensuring stronger communities, safer streets and social cohesion.
'Every parent knows that a child who attends school and works hard will achieve more. The link between failure at school and anti-social and criminal behaviour in the streets is well known. Young offenders are more likely to have been truants from school, and less likely to have mastered basic skills and achieved exam success.
'That's why what happens in our schools plays a key part in building strong and safe communities.
'Our success with the literacy and numeracy strategies will go some way to dealing with these problems. But we need to do more.
'We recognise that poor behaviour is a major issue for some schools and it affects the wider community.
- Badly behaviour pupils harm everyone in the school.
- Teachers are unable to get on with job of teaching.
- Pupils are prevented from learning.
- And schools become a blot in the community as badly behaved pupils roam the streets.
'Our approach is underpinned by a coherent strategy that aims to improve behaviour and motivation from the very earliest age.
- The Sure Start programmes works with families to ensure that children get the best start in life
- Expansion of early years places ensures every child enters school ready to learn
- High quality teaching in schools which increasingly focuses on the individual talents and needs of each pupil.
- Relentless focus on discipline and standards within schools
- More support available in schools with learning mentors, in-school learning support units, training on behaviour issues for staff and more referral units.
- Better advice for young people to make the right choices about their future.
'In many of these areas, it is Labour local authorities that are taking the lead:
- Working with schools, Education Welfare officers and police to tackle truancy, picking up kids who should be in school.
- Supporting local school partnerships tackling poor behaviour and improving discipline through Learning Mentors and in-house Learning Support Units.
- Working with over 40 football and rugby clubs delivering the 'Playing for success' programme giving young people the chance to study at sports sites both in and after school.
'It is these sorts of programmes that can help deliver strong and safe communities. That is why it is vital to have Labour councillors elected on May 2nd so that the work continues.'
Labour is ensuring everyone has a stake in their own community - Blunkett
David Blunkett, Labour's home secretary, speaking at thelaunch of Labour's local election campaign said: 'Only Labour values local government and works with it as a key partner in the building of safer and stronger communities.
'We want to take this work forward on the basis of a strong record on crime since 1997.
'We now have the highest-ever number of police officers in England and Wales and overall crime is down 22% with car crime and burglary having fallen very significantly. We have invested in the biggest-ever expansion of CCTV and young offenders are now dealt with in half the time they were in 1997.
'However, we know that fear of crime is still high and that street crime is growing. Today, there is further significant progress in the government's cross-departmental working on street crime with the announcement of fast track robbery courts.
'This will ensure quick progress through the system for those accused of robbery, building on the work of the police.
'It will also compliment the unrolling of a£7.6m video ID parade system to protect witnesses from intimidation and improve detection rates in street robbery and the£20 million funding we put in place yesterday to help local crime fighting partnerships build safer communities.
'These are important elections. Labour has clear plans which are building stronger communities, safer streets, developing local citizenship and ensuring everyone has a stake in their own community.'
Labour's local partnerships delivering stronger communities - Powell
Sally Powell, local government representative on Labour's NEC, speaking today at the launch of Labour's local election campaign said:
'A good example of a Labour council working in partnership with national government and with local agencies to deliver real improvements in peoples' lives is Hammersmith and Fulham.
'Over£5m of government money has been invested in our school buildings since 1997.
'A state of the art technology suite has opened in one of our previously failing schools in Fulham, which now has a waiting list.
'And most importantly, our exams have seen a consistent and marked improvement.
'The chief inspector of schools recently used Hammersmith and Fulham as an example of what a good education authority can achieve.
'We have established a crime and disorder partnership to tackle crime at a local level.
'We have extended CCTV to cover key areas of the borough. We have just signed a Public Service Agreement with the government to tackle all aspects of anti-social behaviour including graffiti, street crime and drugs abuse.
'On the environment:
'We have just been awarded beacon council status recommended by an independent panel for our work on urban green spaces including playgrounds for our children.
'We have invested another£1m in a smarter borough initiative to improve street cleaning and recycling.
'Last year we removed 3,000 abandoned cars from our streets.
'£44m of government money is being invested in regenerating a deprived area of North Fulham, under the NDC programme.
'It's about delivery at a local level involving local people and local agencies to benefit everyone in our community.
'On May 2nd people in Hammersmith and Fulham have the opportunity to vote for a Labour council, to continue to work with the Labour government by investing in strong communities and safer streets.'