They say you plan your next election campaign the day after the election.
The reason is that to keep faith with your voters you need to keep them informed of what you are doing and why.
Back in December 2010 we prepared our 3 year plan to deliver £79 million of savings in West Sussex County Council. The priority was to be open and transparent about our plans, which attracted a lot of interest but little adverse comment.
We have delivered £59m already and the remaining sum will be realised this year – and still – for the last 3 years there has been no increase in Council Tax – keeping hard earned cash in our residents’ pockets.
In difficult financial times tight financial management is absolutely key and you can achieve a lot by just doing things differently and more efficiently, unlike Labour that believes in spend, spend, spend, and we all know where that has got us!
I am proud that in West Sussex– 80 per-cent of our target has been met from changes in the way we work: rationalising the number of offices, working with private sector partners to deliver many of our back office functions and making our buildings much more energy efficient.
We have invested £15 million to boost the economy, £11 million to help Troubled Families change behaviours and improve their lives. We have accelerated our Capital Programme to build new classrooms to accommodate the ‘baby boom’.
We believe in building strong self-reliant communities, which is why we have transferred 4 of our buildings to the Community and will respond to the demand for more.
Cash is always required to get things started and this year £750,000 is available for Big Society and Community projects.
We have enough in reserves for emergencies. This allowed us to allocate £8.25 million to help communities improve drainage systems and roads after the appalling wet weather of the last 10 months.
Just part of our record. We have a good story to tell.
Our future is about continuing tight financial control; building a stronger economy in West Sussex, greater partnership working, pooled budgets to help our elderly and vulnerable live longer, fuller lives, improving roads, and helping our young to a good start in life.
It is just about working with our communities for the good of West Sussex and helping everyone achieve their full potential – simply sound Conservative principles.