Cllr Kay Cutts is Leader of the Conservative Group on Nottinghamshire County Council.

Nottinghamshire County Council suffered the disadvantage of being Labour-run for 28 years. Conservatives gained control for four years from 2009, but lost again to Labour in 2013 due to the UKIP surge.  It is currently in No Overall Control, but Labour as the largest party, supported by the Liberal Democrats, are running the administration and have achieved little.

The 2017 Conservative manifesto makes clear that every resident is important to us, which is why we will care for young people with disabilities, promoting education and better prospects for them. We will also ensure that older people are treated with dignity and respect, taking account of their wishes and protecting their independence.

Conservatives are determined to raise the profile of Nottinghamshire and improve local infrastructure, including road and rail travel to nearby cities and airports.  The only new road built here in recent years was achieved under the previous Conservative administration, when as Council Leader I visited the (then) Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, to secure the dualling of the A453, a main arterial route from the M1 into Nottinghamshire.

We promise to improve our market towns which need regeneration to replace the jobs lost to the closure of coal mines and the demise of the hosiery and clothing industries. We will develop business parks, using Council land where possible, and seeking partners for their expertise and experience.

We have one of the best medical schools in the country and we will seek to produce more locally-trained medical staff to fill posts available across the health service, not only doctors and nurses, but also technical and research posts, relying less on overseas recruitment.

The County boasts two excellent universities with research and innovation following in the tradition of Jesse Boot, second only to Oxford and Cambridge. We attract students from around the country and across world, but too few of our local children are reaching higher education to benefit from the job opportunities available.

When our grammar schools were closed, many working class boys and girls were left with an education that does not realise their potential, failing to stretch their academic abilities or develop technical skills to a high enough standard. We intend to change this, but we need a fair share of the education budget to do so. We will champion grammar schools, as well as promoting engineering, manufacturing, and construction training, and information technology.

As a rural county, taking advantage of leaving the EU, we will promote agriculture and food processing training and jobs, whilst preserving our historic landscape.

We will seek to increase tourism, because we believe that Nottinghamshire’s potential has never been fully realised. We famously lay claim to Robin Hood and also boast the poets Byron and DH Lawrence, and Eric Coates, the composer. Framework knitting was invented here and exported around the world.

Our excellent sporting heritage includes two historic football teams and the world famous Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, voted prettiest in the country and hosting Test Matches which attract thousands of visitors, boosting the local economy. Close by is also the National Water Sports Centre.

Thanks to strong local campaigning and the Conservatives’ success nationally, we have a wonderful opportunity to regain control of Nottinghamshire County Council in May 2017, and it is vital that we do so.