Cllr Jane Scott, the Conservative leader of Wiltshire County Council says that unitary status means less confusion and bureaucracy and that the Government should not dictate where and how many houses are built.
David Cameron says, “Vote for change” but the only change we will see in Wiltshire is the consolidation of five councils into one unitary authority. I lead a Conservative administration and it will remain a Conservative administration after the 4th. June.
The change to a unitary council has enabled us to make savings of over £10mn. In the first year and at least £18mn, year on year, in the future. This has enabled us to reduce a projected council tax increase of 4.9% to 3.5% and we have made the following pledges in our Manifesto.
Reduce the rate of increase in council tax every year for the next four years.
Increase the roads maintenance budget every year for four years.
Campaign vigorously against the unfair and chronic under-funding of our county by government (we receive the lowest support grant of any similar authority at 1.6%)
Further improve our already excellent recycling facilities.
Support existing employers, promote inward investment and provide increased advise and support for those suffering from the recession.
Work with partners to provide an increased range of affordable and social housing schemes and importantly, campaign to let us, and not the government, decide where, and how many, houses shall be built in our county.
Work with our local NHS to repair the damage inflicted by Labour’s local hospital cuts and closures.
It is an exciting time for local government in Wiltshire. The change to unitary status has meant less government, less bureaucracy, less confusion in who is responsible for which service and, most importantly, through Area Boards, more power for local people to influence decisions made that affect their community areas. Moreover, our recently established “Public Service Board” brings together all
service providers in the county to work together for the benefit of the residents of our county.