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Tory Campaign Leaflet Against Cuts and Increased Parking Charges Called ‘Deeply Dishonest’

Published on: 17 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 20 Mar, 2022

By Hugh Coakley

Politicians from competing parties have accused a Conservative campaign leaflet, Intouch Spring 2022, delivered to Guildford homes, of being “deeply dishonest”.

The leaflet, headlined “Our Vision For a Better Guildford”, says the Lib Dem and R4GV council has “poorly managed” the council finances, adding Guildford Conservatives will hold them to account.

Guildford Conservatives say they will campaign against “excessive parking charge increases”.

The Tories say they will campaign to “stop the Lib Dem/R4GV excessive parking charge increases” and will fight the “proposed cuts to arts and cultural attractions, such as the Yvonne Arnaud [Theatre]”.

But GBC deputy leader and leader of Guildford’s Lib Dems, Julia McShane (Westborough) said it was “deeply dishonest”. She blamed the previous Conservative administration for relying on parking income and the “brutal cuts to local council funding”.

Surrey county councillor Fiona Davidson (R4GV, Guildford South East) said people wouldn’t take the leaflet seriously and said R4GV was focusing on delivery.

Defending the leaflet, a spokesperson for the Guildford Conservative Association said: “Lib Dems and R4GV have made little or no progress fulfilling the promises they made in 2019.”

Julia McShane, GBC deputy leader and leader of GBC’s Lib Dems.

Ms McShane said: “It is sad this deeply dishonest leaflet is all that Guildford Conservatives have to offer.

“The last Conservative administration built a financial model heavily reliant on parking income which dropped significantly during Covid while our expenses increased. The situation was made worse by the Conservative’s brutal cuts to local council funding.

“Small cuts to discretionary spending, a below-inflation council tax rise and parking charge increases, are unavoidable but prudent steps to get council finances back in order whilst protecting essential public services.

“Additionally, we are beginning much-needed major projects to build new social housing and refurbishing our existing stock.”

Fiona Davidson, county councillor and R4GV chair.

Fiona Davidson said: “People won’t take this leaflet seriously given the history of multiple Conservatives administrations.  R4GV would rather focus on delivering for Guildford.

“This week contracts were exchanged on North Street with Guildford receiving £5 million in cash and a further £5 million to refurbish the bus station and pedestrianise lower North Street – after 30 years and eight previous failed attempts!

“Then there’s Shaping Guildford’s Future, new homes at Weyside Urban Village and Guildford Park Road, work on flood alleviation enabling more brownfield sites for homes and the riverside to be opened up, and traffic modelling to identify how we resolve congestion and pollution.”

The Conservative spokesperson said: “As a party in opposition at Guildford Borough Council, it is absolutely right that we call out the Lib Dim/R4GV coalition when we think Guildford residents aren’t being best served.

“The fact is that the Lib Dems and R4GV have made little or no progress fulfilling the promises they made in 2019. We will continue to scrutinise their decisions and their claims and call them to account when we feel it’s in the best interests of residents.”

Guildford Conservatives leaflet Intouch Spring 2022.

The Dragon has contacted the Guildford Greenbelt Group and the Labour Party for comment.

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test 3 Responses to Tory Campaign Leaflet Against Cuts and Increased Parking Charges Called ‘Deeply Dishonest’

  1. Paul Spooner Reply

    March 17, 2022 at 6:15 pm

    The deputy leader of the council (and Lib Dem group leader) complains about the Conservatives previously using car parking fees to help fund the council and yet anyone watching last night’s SCC/GBC Joint Committee would have seen that the reason for the Lib Dem and R4GV proposed increases that they voted through en-bloc was to raise funds for the council. Enough said!

    Paul Spooner is the Conservative group leader at Guildford Borough Council.

    • Joe Taylor Reply

      March 17, 2022 at 8:17 pm

      I imagine it’s quite difficult to rebalance a funding model in two years, especially one that has become entrenched after decades of successive Conservative administrations.

  2. Jules Cranwell Reply

    March 18, 2022 at 5:38 am

    Not the first time Cllr Spooner’s Tories have been deeply dishonest. We will not forget a previous leaflet promising “Green Belt to Stay Under Tories”, before the 2015 election. Of course, once the election was over, this was torn up, and the green belt status of 14 villages sacrificed on the altar of developer greed.

    As to their chances of ever regaining the power they are so desperate for, they should recall “you’re gonna reap just what you sow”.

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