Chorley Borough Council is Conservative run and has a third of its seats up for election on May 6. Of the 18 wards in the Council in the Chorley constituency the last time they voted 11 of them elected Conservative councillors with five for Labour, one Lib Dem and one independent.

This strikes as very encouraging. Chorley is our 162nd target seat but the local elections indicate it is well within our grasp. Even those Council seats Labour hung on to in 2008 they had some very small majorities. Our Conservative candidate in the General Election, Alan Cullens, is also a Chorley councillor and has had an important role in keeping down the Council Tax. If elected he will be the only Conservative MP with a beard. Yet another minority group finding representation in the glorious kaleidoscope that is the modern Conservative Party. But will he have trouble from colleagues who assume he must be a Labour MP?

At £180 on Band D Chorley's share of the Council Tax is among the lowest in Lancashire. Only Ribble Valley is lower with £141 and that has been a Conservative Council for a bit longer. Lib Dem-run Burnley charges £257. When the Conservatives took power in 2006 and they managed a freeze again this year.

Although the efficiency drive has meant a hundred fewer people working at the Town Hall than under Labour services have improved one. The Council has been transformed from a fair rating in 2005 to an excellent Council in 2008 by the independent Audit Commission. Over the same period staff absence due to sickness has halved, down to seven days per year, and staff morale is high such that the Council was voted by staff as the second best council to work for in a national competition run by The Times.

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