17/10/2016 Leave a comment
On Saturday Suffolk Conservatives held the first of our Campaign 2017 team days where Candidates from across Suffolk came together to talk about our draft manifesto. The buzz in the air was palatable as we discussed ideas and policies for the next 4 years. There are 75 divisions to be contested in next May’s County Council elections and our team is now in place to contest all the seats.
In 2005 the first term objective for the incoming Conservatives was to sort out the major structural problems with a Council that had become used to simply demanding more and more money from residents to pay for less and less efficient services. The Liberals and Labour Councillors who ran the county, whilst well-meaning simply did not have the business skills needed to control an organisation. In two years before being booted out of office they put up the Council tax by over 30% and did nothing to control spiralling costs. Well-meaning but utterly useless.
11 years on and the council is now less than half the numbers of staff delivering more services, it has and is absorbing the governments’ need to spend less money and made the savings required yet still delivered it with 6 years of 0% base Council Tax rises. Our Budget next year will look to do the same and will be debated over the coming months ahead of the vote in February. Our services are rated as good and across the country Suffolk County Council is viewed as doing some of the most innovative things in local government, from our approach to Libraries to partnership working to our wholly owned companies and staff mutuals, we are making the saving needed and protecting front line services.
When we launch our manifesto Suffolk resident’s will see the vision we have for Suffolk County Council services and the ambition we have for our communities. It won’t be an exercise in simply spending all the reserves and then either going cap-in-hand to government to bail us out when the cash runs out, or worse demand vast sums of money from Suffolk residents to bail them out. It will be a set of proposals that will deliver better services for residents and on a sustainable footing for the next 4-year term.
This coming Saturday I shall be in Felixstowe for the latest in our #WeAreListening events that we have run since I became the Leader and from then onwards I will spend each weekend in my own Division and across Suffolk supporting our great team of Candidates as we explain to residents on the door step, what we are about and why they should vote Conservative in May 2017.