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Opinion: Lib Dems Offer a Green County, Care, Community-Focus And Competence

Published on: 27 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 2 May, 2021

The second of the Opinion pieces from the parties standing in the Surrey County Council election on May 6…… You can see all of the political opinion articles here.

By Julia McShane

Westborough Liberal Democrat, group leader, Guildford Borough Council and candidate for Guildford North

In our last article, we talked about why the people of Surrey cannot afford another four years of Conservative mismanagement, incompetence and failure. Now we want to talk about the positive case for voting Liberal Democrat.

Julia McShane, candidate for Guildford North

Lib Dem county councillors have already earned an enviable reputation for making the voices of local people heard and delivering tangible results for residents.

Despite the large Conservative majority at County Hall, we Lib Dems have punched well above our weight to get things done. And we can prove that.

In the past four years alone, Lib Dem county councillors have delivered Guildford road safety schemes and lower speed limits near schools in the face of county council opposition, succeeded in having roads resurfaced and ensured we will be among the first towns in Surrey to provide extra-care housing.

We have a proud record which deserves your vote and we have a clear plan to deliver a county council which is green, community-focused, caring and above all, competent.

Green: We will:

  • Take urgent action to reach carbon neutral by 2030;
  • Ensure public buildings are energy-efficient and, where possible, generate their own electricity;
  • Invest in massively improved public transport and infrastructure for cycling and electric vehicles;
  • Restore opening-hours at recycling centres to tackle the scourge of fly-tipping; and
  • Bolster local flood prevention and hold drainage and sewerage bodies to account.

Caring: We will:

  • Stop families being forced to fight for their entitlements by supporting children with special needs;
  • Invest in providing school places local to residents and refurbish school buildings to bring them up to standard;
  • Ensure children’s services are the best they can be and that vulnerable children and families are safe and well cared for; and
  • Take adult social care back in-house where necessary, to provide equitable and safe provision for the elderly.

Community-focused: We will:

  • Rebuild youth services, especially in left-behind areas;
  • Devolve decision-making to local communities and ensure support for the most vulnerable;
  • Transform libraries into all-round community hubs;
  • Reverse Conservative fire service cuts that put lives at risk;
  • Invest in road safety schemes to meet local needs; and
  • Work with a Lib Dem Police and Crime Commissioner to restore community policing.

Competent: We will:

  • Cut back-office costs and high management salaries to pay for new services;
  • Ensure competent contract management so services, such as pothole repairs, are delivered properly first time; and
  • End the scandal of millions in taxpayer money being sunk into loss-making investment schemes.

No other party standing in these elections has a proper plan to enhance the future of Surrey.

The Conservatives are resorting to smoke-and-mirrors to distract from their appalling record and demonstrating their contempt for the electorate by dodging the scrutiny of election hustings.

And the other parties, while able enough to point out the failures at County Hall, have been unable, or unwilling, to say what exactly they would do differently.

By contrast, we are offering a vision of a county council which works for local people and with boroughs and districts, rather than trying to get rid of them.

Lib Dem county councillors will make sure County Hall provides the infrastructure our borough needs, supports local businesses and communities to help recover from the pandemic, and maintains vital services and facilities not just in our town but in the villages and Ash and Tongham as well.

If you want a council which is green, caring, community-focused and competent then vote for your Liberal Democrat candidate on Thursday, May 6.

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