Cllr Nick Rushton is the Leader of Leicestershire County Council.
Unlike our Opposition parties, our manifesto for the 2017 County Council elections entitled “Working Together for a Better Leicestershire” sets out a positive and strategic blueprint – achievable under four more years of good Conservative governance.
We have been in outright control of the County since 2001 – and in 2017 we are looking to make inroads into Labour heartlands in the north west of the county, winning back two seats from UKIP lost in 2013, and exposing the Liberal Democrats for their double standards: a different policy for every doorstep and no plan for government.
We’ve presided over a growing economy in Leicestershire and the East Midlands, with 188,000 extra jobs and 4,785 more businesses created, since 2010.
We have worked very closely with the Labour City Mayor, our Local Enterprise Partnership, our three universities, our MPs and the seven district councils, working together to support jobs and growth. Let’s face it, economic growth knows no boundaries and that is why the Government has trusted us to drive the £392 million Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect strategies. This will see hundreds, if not thousands of new, hi-tech jobs based around the County. And if we get it right, put Leicestershire on the map as an international centre of excellence for jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Backing all this up, we have one of the biggest capital investment programmes for infrastructure the county has ever seen, including £78.5 million for highways and LED streetlight replacement, £33 million superfast broadband delivery and £37 million on schools and schools places. It amounts to £172 million over the next term and none is financed from borrowing.
Money remains tight, and although we have found £135 million savings, repaid £46 million debt, kept council tax increases low, transformed how the Council works and become more commercial, we still need to fix the broken system of local government funding. We need a fairer, needs-based, cost driver model for both local government and our schools. It is called the “The Leicestershire Model” and is a plan for root and branch reform of the way local government is funded. Working with the CCN, our MPs and our like-minded partners, we will deliver a fairer funding formula that will see most councils better off.
We will protect vulnerable children and adults, prioritising their social care needs. We have successfully integrated health and social care services and we will work with the NHS to do more. We invest over £26 million per year in Public Health and there will be a greater emphasis on prevention and stopping problems escalating – meeting and reducing the demand for expensive services. There will also be a greater focus on people with mental health issues and we will ensure parity of esteem.
Finally, we plan to make a success of Brexit locally. Respecting the decision and working with businesses to capitalise on new commercial and investment opportunities, retaking control of procurement.
Simple and positive.
Conservatives working together for a better Leicestershire.