On 1st May Cambridgeshire’s Conservatives launched their campaign to retain control of Cambridgeshire County Council on 4 June under the banner of 'Judge us by our record'. They have controlled the County council since 1997 and currently hold 42 of the 69 seats on the Council. I am confident that the significant progress that the Council has made in recent years and the Conservative vision for years to come will appeal to voters.
Cambridgeshire County Council was recently judged as the most improved County Council in England by the Government’s public sector watchdog, the Audit Commission. That assessment was based on its performance over the last three years. Services the Council provides for children and young people have been judged as consistently above required standards and those for adults and older people have been given a good two star rating by Inspectors.
Over the last four years we have seen year on year improvement in exam results and the performance of our schools. We are providing more care for older people and those with disabilities than ever before. Our commitment to the environment has been demonstrated by recycling rates that are among the best in the country and by our success in getting more people to use public transport. And, just recently, we learnt that the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads is at a record low. All of these services really matter to people.
These achievements have been achieved despite consistently receiving one of the poorest Government grant settlements in the country. As our Cabinet Member for Resources John Reynolds explains: ‘Under
the Labour Government, Cambridgeshire and other counties in East Anglia have been short-changed year after year leading to difficult spending decisions. Despite this, our efficiency drive has enabled us to keep the level of council tax in Cambridgeshire amongst the lowest in the country."
The public expect us to spend their money wisely and find ways to achieve more for less without putting essential services in jeopardy. For the second year running the Audit Commission has given us top
marks for our use of resources and praised us for our approach to delivering value for money – one of only eleven County Councils in England to be given such a high rating.
The Conservative manifesto includes a series of pledges for taking Cambridgeshire forward over the next four years. We are ambitious for Cambridgeshire, its public services and its people. The recession is having a real impact on many people and we believe it will get worse before it gets better. A Conservative County Council will help hard working families through these difficult times.
We know that money for public services will remain tight but through our efficiency drive we will ensure we continue to spend record amounts of money on tackling the backlog of highway maintenance. We will continue to meet the needs of Cambridgeshire’s growing number of older people, protect vulnerable children and adults and provide high quality education. We will continue to listen to our residents and ensure we are focusing on the issues that matter most to them and will work hard to ensure Cambridgeshire is well placed to bounce back when the recession is over.