"LABOUR are back in Somerset and hoping to build on existing strongholds in Bridgwater and Taunton.

"Labour’s vision is one that embraces Somerset’s many strengths and the opportunities offered by the new election arrangements.

"This is the chance for Somerset to work better for its people. It is Labour that will take their voice into the heart of power.

"Successive Conservative governments, with their local Somerset lackeys, have starved Somerset of the funding necessary to sustain secure and healthy communities.

"Twelve years of calculated government neglect, and poor decision-making at County Hall have left hard-pressed public servants operating with desperately fragile resources.

"We all pay the price, but, as is always the Tory way, the greatest hardships fall on those least equipped to bear them.

"There is no quick fix for our lost services.

"Funding for our maintained schools is among the meanest in the country. The county youth service, Sure Start centres, social care services, adult special needs centres, Community Safety Partnerships – all these safety nets have disappeared.

"Vulnerable residents struggle to access the information and services they need because online connectivity and proficiency are assumed where in places they don’t exist.

"Somerset needs a council that puts its people first. A council that is accessible, transparent and accountable.

"We have a plan. It's in our manifesto. It’s based on the idea that if you fix one thing, everything else starts to work better.

"Better transport means better access to jobs and services, while using less carbon to get there.

"Making acute care local means families don’t have to travel as far and patients recover quicker.

"Once you start doing one thing right, everything starts to push in the right direction.

"That’s what Labour will do, steps, sometimes small, sometimes big, always in the direction of a Somerset better for its people."

Labour's key aims for Somerset:

  • Safer, stronger, empowered communities, accessible information, advice and services;
  • Decent, secure, genuinely affordable, low carbon homes with key local facilities;
  • A healthy start, rounded education, and equal opportunities for all children and young people;
  • Health and care services that meet changing needs and enhance quality of life;
  • A strong, sustainable, green local economy and environment;
  • High quality jobs, vocational training and lifelong learning opportunities;
  • Sustainable, integrated public transport, well-maintained roads, cycle routes and walkways.

Read the Labour manifesto at www.somersetlabour.co.uk/manifesto