Brandon Lewis is Chairman of the Conservative Party, and is MP for Great Yarmouth.
The local elections are a week away and there’s everything to fight for, because it’s more important than ever to get more Conservatives in local government.
As Conservatives we are often more reticent to shout about our successes. But over the next seven days, it is vital that we make the case on the doorstep about our local government achievements.
Take London. Kensington and Chelsea is the only borough in London where every school is rated as good or outstanding. The Conservative council has overseen the building of three new secondary schools and will be building a new special school in North Kensington, all while maintaining one of the lowest council tax rates in the capital.
Westminster council has kept all its libraries open and its children’s services were the first to be rated as outstanding – and that’s with the lowest council tax in the country. Wandsworth council has the second lowest council tax in the country, but has still invested £150 million in the biggest council house building programme in England.
In Amber Valley, the Conservative council was one of the first councils in England to use the Government’s business rates relief fund to help local businesses. And last year, it reported the highest rate of housebuilding completions in the area for over 20 years.
Trafford has the lowest council tax in Greater Manchester and it is investing £14 million to fix every road and pavement in the borough. And since taking control of Dudley Council, Conservatives have scrapped Labour’s plans to charge for green bin collections and reversed Labour’s street cleaning cuts.
This record contrasts sharply with Labour. In Lewisham, between 2007 and 2017 the Labour council built just six new council houses. Enfield has become the fly-tipping capital of London under Labour. In Ashfield, Labour spent £3 million shrinking bins in a botched attempt to increase recycling – but instead fly tipping increased by 39 per cent and recycling didn’t go up at all.
In Labour-run Birmingham bins have gone uncollected, leaving thousands of tonnes of rubbish on the streets. And local residents are being charged more for these poor services. On average, Labour councils charge £116 more in council tax in England than Conservative councils.
But it could get worse. We know the hard-left Momentum group is taking over Labour root and branch. From Haringey to Harlow, Brighton to Cornwall, moderate Labour council leaders have quit as the hard left take over.
And we know what the hard-left want – Momentum have called for a eye-watering 20 per cent council tax hikes across the board.
In London, they have blocked much-needed housing regeneration schemes because of ideological dogma.
In Birmingham, they have backed further bin strikes that left rubbish piling in the streets.
The hard left are more interested in ideological battles and internal Labour Party fights than meeting the needs of local people.
That’s why, with seven days to go until polling day, we must do everything we can to support our Conservative Party candidates.
It’s been an extraordinary few months of campaigning. Every weekend I post pictures on social media of activists across the country campaigning day and night, in the snow and the sun, to win votes. I’m incredibly proud to be part of a Conservative family that is so committed to delivering better local government for residents.
It makes a real difference. In some areas of the country, the difference between winning and losing is a handful of votes. A few extra hours this evening, this weekend, and on Thursday could be the difference between winning a seat, or a ward, or a council.
So I urge all of you to join me on the doorstep over the next seven days, as we go the extra mile to get our excellent local Conservative candidates elected on May 3rd.