Cllr Jeremy Moulton is the Leader of the Conservative Group on Southampton City Council.
Conservatives ran Southampton Council as a minority administration from 2007-8 and then as a majority administration for four years from 2008-12. Labour has run a majority for the past four years. This year we have 18 seats contested – the Conservatives are defending six and Labour 12.
Providing more quality housing and helping local people to have their own homes will be the driving mission for a new Conservative Council. The Labour council have failed utterly on housing. They promised 1,500 new affordable homes but have completed just 27 new council homes. It is a scandal that for years they have left hundreds of council homes empty in Townhill Park, when there are over 10,000 people on the housing waiting list. A Conservative council will deliver new and better homes by regenerating our city estates, and we will change council policy to focus on delivering shared ownership housing. Many local people would love to have their own home but are priced out of the market. We will enable the building of hundreds of new shared equity homes, and promote government schemes like the Help To Buy ISA, helping more people to get on the housing ladder.
Conservative Councillors have worked hard to secure a good deal from government, helping win £8 million to protect our weekly bin collections and to fund our new glass collections. Southampton got one of the best government settlements in the county this year, with £46 million extra over the next four years, compared with what council finance chiefs were predicting. By securing a good deal for Southampton and by running the council more efficiently, by sharing management costs and services with neighbouring councils, we can protect important services like SureStart and local libraries, which have been cut back under Labour. It also means we can scrap Labour’s damaging evening parking charges and their unfair residents’ parking permit charges.
A Conservative Council will mean a caring city where the most vulnerable are looked after, young and old, and where our children have a good education and can get to school safely. We will also act now to tackle Southampton’s poor air quality.
We will work with business to secure more jobs and investment for the city. Almost all the major developments taking place were started by the Conservatives when last in office – the completion of the Northern Above Bar Arts Quarter, of Ocean Village, and the planned Mayflower Park development for instance. Rather than sitting back idly as Labour has done, a Conservative Council will make sure we secure the next wave of much needed investment into the city.
We bring a long term transport vision to get the city moving, ensuring we have a transport network that keeps pace with the growth of the city. We will work with neighbouring councils to achieve this and will take advantage of government plans to devolve business rates and infrastructure spending to local authorities.
Finally, we will restore pride in our city. Southampton should be a place we are proud to call home. Labour has cut street cleaning so that local roads are now swept just once every two months. They scrapped services like City Patrol which helped deal with fly tipping. In the city centre, multi-million pound public realm schemes are being allowed to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance, with paving slabs cracked and uneven. Local residents will see the difference a Conservative Council brings within just a few months. We will clean up the city and restore pride in Southampton.