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EDITIONS
Monday, 15 April, 2002, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Lib Dems launch election campaign
Charles Kennedy
Mr Kennedy on a walkabout in Richmond
The Liberal Democrats have officially launched their campaign for May's local elections.

Party leader Charles Kennedy said that he planned to target both Conservative and Labour-run authorities.


We are enormously proud of our record

Charles Kennedy
Local government spokesman Don Foster accused Labour as being as bad centralising than the Tories, if not worse.

"Liberal Democrats believe that local councils should be set free to provide quality public services that meet the needs of local people," he said.

He said he wanted local councils to be able to raise a greater proportion of their own revenue and be able to decide how to spend that money.

Police and schools

"Less ring-fencing and micro-management from Whitehall will mean more freedom for local councils to act on voters' priorities.

"More investment for local councils will allow proper investment in police and schools."

Primary schools in Richmond gain the best results in the entire country, and in Sutton they have one of the best recycling schemes

Charles Kennedy

The Lib Dems are hoping to retain councils such as Islington, Sutton and Richmond - all in greater London - and metropolitan authorities such as Liverpool and Sheffield.

They have also set their sights on councils such as Norwich, Milton Keynes, Hull, Cheltenham, Kirklees, Wokingham and Eastbourne.

The party's launch comes on the same day as a similar event being staged by the Tories in Bradford.

Last week Labour unveiled its plans for the 2 May elections.

But Mr Kennedy insisted only his party represented the opportunity for genuine change.

Liverpool Council Tax

"We are enormously proud of our record," he said at a Westminster news conference.

"Liberal Democrat controlled Liverpool has cut council tax where Labour had previously made it the highest in Britain.

"Primary schools in Richmond gain the best results in the entire country, and in Sutton they have one of the best recycling schemes."

Of 10,000 seats that are up for election in May, Labour are defending 4,895, the Tories 2,737 and the Lib Dems 1,912. Other parties have 385 seats.

See also:

11 Apr 02 | UK Politics
11 Apr 02 | UK Politics
10 Apr 02 | England
10 Apr 02 | UK Politics
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