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Competition hots up for Leeds Childrens' Mayor

The Leeds Children's Mayor 2012-13 Oliver Larkin with 'Mango the Meerkat' Credit: Leeds City Council

Ten Leeds school children who are taking their first steps into politics are now campaigning hard to win votes to become the new Leeds Children’s Mayor. Voting is now under way in this year’s competition, which saw the most entrants ever, with 28 primary schools submitting their best manifestos.

Year 6 pupils in primary schools were invited to enter the Leeds Children’s Mayor programme, by writing a short manifesto saying how they would improve Leeds if they were the Children’s Mayor.

The manifesto had to be based on one of the 12 wishes for a more child friendly Leeds, which include; travel, healthy lifestyles, safe play areas, jobs and learning.

Last year, thousands of people voted and Oliver Larking from Bardsey Primary school was elected as the 2012-13 Children's Mayor of Leeds.

The ten finalists’ manifestos have now been uploaded to the Breeze website allowing people across the city to vote for their three favourite entries. Voting is open until 5pm on Monday 4th November.

The ten finalists will be invited for tea with the Lord Mayor on 7th November where the winner will be announced, who will then accompany the Lord Mayor to the turning on of the Leeds Lights – which will just be the start of a year of exciting opportunities representing the children of Leeds.

Voting is open to everyone. People can cast their votes at:'sMayor/ or by email to[




Leeds City Council proposed budget changes at-a-glance

Leeds City Council will discuss details of its budget for the next financial year at a meeting on Friday 15 February before it is approved later in the month. Current proposals to help find a further £54.9m of savings include:

  • Increasing council house rents, garage rents and service charges by 5.9%
  • Children's nursery fees to be increased by £2 a day
  • Above-inflation rise in council fees and charges
  • Sport charges to increase by around 4%
  • School clothing allowances to end
  • Bereavement charges to increase by 7.5%
  • Review of evening and Sunday parking charges
  • Review of adult social care services which are currently free
  • New or increased charges for council events
  • End some elements of free home to school/college travel from September 2013
  • Seasonal closures of heritage facilities

The council says its decisions have been influenced by a survey of 2000 people who called for culture and leisure services to be cut the most. Those questioned wanted children's services to be protected and said parking and leisure centre prices could generate more income.

This has been by far the hardest budget to set in my time on the council and we want to be up front with people about the scale of the challenge we are facing and what these changes will mean. Making decisions which we know will be unpopular over price increases and budget cuts is not something any of us wanted to make, but the position is now so difficult we have had no choice but to look at areas we had previously avoided.

– Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield

Leeds City Council warns of 'painful decisions' to meet budget cuts

Leeds City Council's leader has warned of painful decisions trying to find a further £55m of budget cuts over the next financial year. Councillor Keith Wakefield says the key theme of spending for 2013/14 will be "protecting essential services by making painful decisions we can no longer avoid."

In the two years since the government began its public spending review Leeds City Council has found £145m of savings. During the next financial year £54.9m extra has to be saved from the budget. 334 full time jobs will go and other proposals include service reductions and extra charges.

Again this year the statistics show that Leeds has been hit harder than all the other core cities except one in terms of funding from the government. As a result in order to do all we can to protect essential services we have had to look at making decisions which previously we would have considered unthinkable. We are doing all we can to keep the impact of these changes to a minimum, but at the same time we also have a firm commitment to growth, embracing new ideas and working together to deliver a strong future for Leeds.

– Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield

£600,000 compensation bill for Leeds' potholes

Potholed road in Leeds Credit: Sarah Clark

Leeds City Council has paid out more than £600,000 compensation claims caused by potholes in the last five years. More than 1,600 claims were lodged during that time - but only a fraction have actually been settled.

Last year, 355 claims were made by drivers for personal injury claims or car repairs - but only 55 have been settled. In 2010, one injury claim attracted more than twenty six thousand pounds.

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