South Gloucestershire is a unitary authority with a minority Conservative administration and all the seats up for election on Thursday. There are currently 33 Conservatives, 28 Lib Dems and nine Labour councillors.
Under Conservative leadership the Council was ahead of the pack on spending transparency – jumping not waiting to be pushed. The Council has protected frontline services by streamliming the Council bureaucracy. The number of managers is being cut by a third and the number of Council Departments reduced from five to three.
For these elections the Conservatives are promising:
1. Keep household bills down by controlling council tax, insulating more homes and investigating a ‘rewards4recycling’ scheme
2. Support our local economy and jobs by delivering the flagship Science Park, campaigning for the roll-out of superfast broadband, make small business rate relief automatic and keep car parking free
3. Invest in our schools to give our young people the best possible opportunities in life
4. Secure the maximum possible health facilities at Frenchay, Cossham, Southmead and Thornbury Hospitals
5. More police on the beat by working closer with the council.
The Conservative Council Leader, Cllr John Calway says:
“Since 2007, not only have we kept the promises we made, but residents’ efforts have helped us go even further.
However, we know there’s more to do, but as we start on the hard road of paying off Labour’s debt, we won’t be able to afford to do everything that we would like to.
But, just like 4 years ago, we won’t make promises we cannot keep.
We know that over 4 days, the £120 million a day the country is spending on debt interest is the equivalent of South Gloucestershire Council’s entire annual budget.
That debt interest is money that is being paid to foreign creditors for them to spend on their schools and libraries, rather than our own here in South Gloucestershire.
In order for us not to pass this debt onto our children, it has to be reduced, and the longer we leave it, the worse it will get.
Not long after we formed a Conservative Administration after the 2007 local elections, we predicted the tough times that the previous Labour government’s out-of-control public spending would lead us to and so we began to look at ways to reduce costs without reducing services.
That earlier work has meant that this council is one of the most well-prepared authorities in the country to deal with its expected and understandable reduction in government funding.
In fact, the recent council budget actually saw investment increased in the vital services we all rely on, including youth services and care for the elderly, not to mention a council tax freeze.
In the years ahead, we need to eliminate what remains of the waste, inefficiency and duplication in the system in order to continue to protect and improve the services that our fellow residents want.
Working together with our fellow residents, we can protect South Gloucestershire, even as we pay off Labour’s debt.
At the same time, we are promising to deliver even better value for money and make our district even greener, safer and more prosperous by strengthening our local economy and investing in our schools so our children have the best possible start in life.”