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Labour launch manifesto for local elections with pledges on transport and net-zero

New promises include the return of a free city centre bus and £3.5m for renewable energy on community buildings.

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Labour councillors and campaigners at Park Hill.

Sheffield Labour.

Sheffield's Labour Party have launched their manifesto for upcoming local elections on 5 May.

Pledges include the return of the FreeBee city centre free bus and £3.5 million to generate renewable energy from community buildings including libraries, schools and council buildings.

The manifesto also re-commits to making the city net-zero by 2030, and says that the party will "go even further" with the district heating network, potentially building an energy storage facility.

“No matter where you live, you should expect the same high standard of living," said local Labour leader Terry Fox, who is also leader of the Council, and deputy leader Julie Grocutt.

"Underpinning every decision Labour makes is a commitment to tackling inequalities and levelling-up the city, but in a uniquely Sheffield way."

Elections to Sheffield City Council take place in three out of four years and Labour release a manifesto for each election, meaning that some of the pledges also appeared in last year's document.

The party will be hoping to take some seats back from the Greens and Liberal Democrats in May, when a third of the council's 84 members will be up for re-election.

At the last election in May 2021, the party lost overall control of the council for the first time since 2010, and have since governed in a loose coalition with the 13 Green Party councillors.

Of the 28 seats up for election – one in every ward in the city – 16 are currently held by Labour, 9 by the Lib Dems and 3 by the Greens.

Others parties haven't yet released a manifesto for the election, but a recent budget proposal by the Greens put forward a Workplace Parking Levy, which would charge employers with city centre parking spaces to fund improvements to public transport.

"Other councils like Leicester and across Scotland are also looking to introduce employers’ Workplace Parking Levies, so why not Sheffield, if we actually want to generate more money to invest in public transport?” said Green councillor Ruth Mersereau.

The Greens also backed the return of the FreeBee bus, which stopped running in 2014, and called for councillors to "set an example" by removing their ability to claim parking expenses.

Both parties support South Yorkshire taking back public control of its buses, though campaigners fear other councils in the region will backtrack on the project.

Local Green leader Douglas Johnson said that his party would "provide genuine support for public transport with an honest approach to the cost of car parking and the real benefits of safe and convenient walking and cycling routes.”

Fox and Grocutt said their coalition partners' approach to the climate crisis "seems to be to just hit people in their pockets, regardless of who can afford it," claiming that Labour backed "a more inclusive – but no less radical – way of delivering the required change."

On housing Labour's manifesto backs city-wide landlord licensing for the first time, calling for the creation of a 'Sheffield standard' for all homes, including private and council tenants.

The Greens also support city-wide licensing, which would see every private landlord in the city have to pass quality checks and inspections before leasing homes to tenants.

Labour also say they will work to create an internationally-renowned 'Gallery for the North'. Although this isn't named, it probably refers to plans to build a new home for S1 Artspace at Park Hill.

The full list of candidates for the 28 seats up for election on 5 May will be published on 5 April. Now Then will cover other parties' manifestos in the run-up to the election.

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More Sheffield News