Trust in us
In this election you have a clear choice. A choice between a financially prudent Conservative administration with a clear plan to improve the lives of all Somerset residents or the Lib Dems who have no plans for the County except to tax and borrow.
The Conservatives have frozen your council tax for 6 of the last 8 years. In comparison the Lib Dems when they were last in charge raised your council tax by 62%, at a recent Council meeting one of the Lib Dem Councillors even said that the Council should consider a 15% council at increase. Hard working Somerset residents simply cannot afford the Lib Dems.
The Lib Dems left the County Council £350 million in debt. They took out 50 year loans at high interest rates with massive early repayment penalties. We have worked hard to reduce this crippling debt but it still costs nearly £100,000 a day to service. If we did not have this debt, we would be able to invest more in Somersets services. The Lib Dems if elected in May want to start borrowing again. I would rather we spend more money on services, than interest paid to the banks.
The Conservatives are proud to have recruited over 50 new Childrens social workers. This is on top of the staff that are already employed. This provides better care to those children in the County who need it. The Lib Dems complain that we have spent money on agency staff fees. However agency staff are needed to care for our children and the elderly when are regular staff are unwell or retire and then only until we find a replacement. The Lib Dems appear to be suggesting that we should not employ agency staff, well in which case, can they tell me who they do not wish to care for?
Our Childrens services have been on an improvement journey and I pay credit to the hard working members of staff who have made this happen. The improvements have been recognized by Ofsted, the Government and other local authorities who we are now assisting improve their own childrens services.
The Conservatives are proud to have created the Somerset Rivers Authority to prevent future flooding throughout the County. In the 2014 floods over £147 million pounds of damage was done to the County. Road links from Mendip to Taunton and rail links to the South West were flooded. The Conservatives have managed to bring in £50 million to help prevent future flooding. The Lib Dems on the other hand, do not support the Somerset Rivers Authority and investing in protecting our homes, jobs and transport links.
Over the last four years the Conservative Administration has brought £200 million of investment into the County. This investment has paid for superfast broadband, new roads, new congestion reducing traffic schemes, new enterprise centres to help create jobs and apprenticeships and new community facilities. We have successfully sought this investment without borrowing any money.
Conservatives have successfully lobbied for £22 million of additional funding to our schools. We have freed schools of County Hall regulation and allowed them to do what they do best, teach. There is no coincidence, when we freed the schools of regulation, that school results, especially in GCSE have vastly increased.
We have presented a clear plan for the future to build a new University, homes for Somerset residents, new schools and jobs throughout our county. This is a plan, that Somerset needs to be competitive and to raise the standard of living for all its residents.
If you vote Lib Dem on 4 May you will pay vastly more council tax and the Council will have to pay of more debt. Somerset Conservatives care for you and the services the council provides. We have a track record of dealing with the issues head on and a clear plan for the future. I ask you to make a clear choice and vote for the party with the clear plan.