VOTERS in York are being offered a socialist alternative at the local election under the slogan "flood defences not cluster bombs."

York Socialist Alliance's Micklegate ward candidate Bob Looker said it was "a disgrace" that the New Labour Government had spent billions on the Iraq war, but York's £23m flood defence scheme had been put off.

He said: "If the Government can find billions to bomb Iraqi schools, hospitals, power stations and water works, then why can't it afford a few million to provide adequate flood defences for York?"

Guildhall candidate Mark Russell added: "Underfunding and privatisation are the hallmarks of New Labour.

"The Socialist Alliance is committed to fighting for proper funding of all our public services."

Mr Looker said the SA's campaign was going well, with the challenge now to get the party's message across.

He added: "All new parties find it difficult to break in and break through against the established parties, but we are campaigning at a time when the electoral loyalties of many voters are very fluid."

Updated: 09:42 Wednesday, April 16, 2003