Labour election pledge to give Blackpool residents free entry to attractions comes under fire

Labour leader Simon Blackburn
Labour leader Simon Blackburn
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An election pledge by Labour to give Blackpool residents free access to attractions if the party is re-elected to run the council has come under fire from the Tories.

Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group in the town, warned the promise was “potentially contravening election regulations” and questioned how it could be funded.

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He said people would rather money was spent on essential services “than a free go on a ghost train”.

But Labour leader Simon Blackburn, today stood by the pledge and said it could be met without any cost to council tax payers.

Mr Williams said: “I have been advised that by offering free amusement tickets and free parking promises in their campaign, Labour are actually using council resources as an incentive for people to vote for them.

“Not only is this potentially contravening election regulations, but perhaps residents would rather they spent the money these freebies will cost on more important issues facing the town.

“I think that might make people more happy than a free go on a ghost train.”

Mr Williams said he would be reporting the issue to Conservative HQ and the Electoral Commission.

He said if attraction operators were helping to meet the cost of the scheme, they were legally bound to declare they were supporting a Labour campaign.

But Mr Blackburn said the pledge was a legitimate offer.

He said: “All of our pledges are fully costed and fully deliverable, unlike the Tories bizarre pledges.

“I have no intention of telling Tony how we’re doing it, or the details of our negotiations, but it’s all in hand.

“The people of Blackpool, if they elect a Labour Council, will be able to enjoy a wide and growing list of attractions for free, including free parking, and it won’t cost the council tax payer a penny.”

Labour is seeking a third term in office as the battle to control Blackpool Council for the next four years is now officially underway.

Voters in the resort, and in Fylde and Wyre will be visiting poll stations on Thursday, May 2.