Cllr Teresa O’Neill is the Leader of Bexley Council.
The Council Election campaign in Bexley this year was always going to be a bit of an unknown quantity for the following reasons:
- We had delivered on one of our previous manifesto commitments to voluntarily reduce the number of Councillors to save taxpayers money – so we had untested Ward boundaries.
- It was the first “naked” election since 2006. There were combined elections with the General Election in 2010 and European Election in 2014 which would have had an impact on turnout and voting behaviours
- At this point in the Parliamentary cycle (and the Brexit negotiations) we knew the Government was not popular, especially in London.
That meant we wanted to ensure that our residents knew what they’d be voting for and what the alternative would be. We therefore adopted a campaign slogan of:
“Do you want your Council to be Hard Left or Just Right”.
We gave them a clear choice – to vote to keep a Conservative Council that had been judged by an independent panel as “an efficient, well run Council with a record of getting things done for the community” or replace it with a Labour administration that didn’t understand budgets, traded in fear and lies rather than alternative plans and, when they were last in control, put Council tax up by 40 per cent.
We were proud to have run our borough for 12 years – we have a record of creating opportunities from challenges, sound financial management, and strong leadership. They are not our words but the words of the same recent independent review.
We never forget we are spending our residents’ money which is why we have transformed services rather than cut them as Labour boroughs have.
We have invested in preventative care for those who need support rather than letting needs become expensive. By raising our profile, we’ve attracted millions of pounds of external investment to create opportunities for our residents and because of this, we were able to put more money into keeping our borough clean and green. We transformed our libraries and worked with schools to ensure our young people get a good start in life and we care for those who need it.
We have ambitious, aspirational plans for our borough which will benefit all our residents.
We set those plans out in our manifesto and we delivered it to as many homes in the borough as we could.
The choice was clear for Bexley residents on May 3rd – did they want to continue to elect a Council that will deliver for them and spend their money wisely, or one led by people who consistently voted against improvements for our residents?
Our residents “got it” and the outcome was clear – we now have three times as many members as the opposition and Bexley is back to two parties . We now have to get on with delivering our manifesto and continuing to deliver for the residents who have again entrusted their borough to us.