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Opinion: What Has Conservative-Run Surrey County Council Done For Us?

Published on: 11 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 25 Apr, 2021

Continuing our series of Opinion pieces by the parties standing in the Surrey County Council elections on May 6…..

By Matt Furniss

Surrey county councillor and Conservative candidate for Shalford

Surrey County Council (SCC) under the Conservatives has worked hard during the past four years to deliver improved services to our 1.2 million residents.

Highlighted below are just some of the many achievements which have happened during that time to improve the lives of those we represent and serve.

Covid: SCC coordinated the Surrey-wide response to Covid-19. We set up a community helpline in 48 hours and through the Local Resilience Forum we handled more than 11,500 calls, delivered over 11.5 million items of PPE, and delivered £10 million in grants to help care providers deal with the impact of coronavirus.

This was achieved with the efforts of our fantastic NHS and volunteers as well as a competent, financially secure SCC providing value for money services.

Guildford Candidates 2021 from left – Matt Furniss, Keith Witham, Dorothy Chalklin, Mark Brett-Warburton, Chris O’Keeffe, Philip Brooker and Sallie Barker.

Finances: In the past four years we have turned around Surrey’s finances which means we are in a great position to invest, unlike many other councils, which are making cuts to services.

Surrey has balanced the budget without using reserves by transforming our operations with over £250m efficiencies. Providing high-quality, value-for-money services and protecting our most vulnerable residents.

Community: We are committed to bringing the council much closer to residents and have launched SCC’s £100 million Your Fund Surrey, in an unprecedented move to give power and influence to local communities across the county.

We maintained and improved the library service across the county assuring that all 52 library offerings remain open.

We have offered the use of our 30 youth centres for the good of young people at little or no cost to voluntary, community and faith organisations.

Transport and infrastructure: Instead of just managing our roads and pavements we increased our spending to £265 million to improve our roads. This means that we will do even more than in the past four years where we resurfaced over 400 miles of Surrey roads, 125 miles of pavements and repaired over 150,000 potholes.

We are also rolling out installation of fast on-street charging points for electric vehicles. A £49 million investment in electric and hydrogen buses mean that the third most polluting buses will be off our roads very soon. This adds to the £1.5 million for a fleet of zero emission buses in Guildford for the Park & Ride.

Surrey County Council is converting 89,000 streetlights to LED, saving carbon and money.

Climate change and environment: Surrey has declared a climate emergency and is reducing our carbon emissions by over a third. By 2030: net zero for SCC emissions, 70% of waste recycled, 1.2 million trees planted.

We are investing around £84 million in projects to protect the environment and are delivering the Green Homes Grant Scheme covering up to £5,000 towards home improvements.

On waste, we have won awards for our community recycling centres, launched five re-use shops to reduce waste which have also raised £20,000 for charity.

Health and social care: Our health is important, and Surrey plays a key role to help us all stay healthy.

It is not just about encouraging walking and cycling for sustainable and healthier travel. We have invested in accessible mental wellbeing walk-in centres, helplines and virtual wellbeing hubs.

SCC is building an additional 725 assisted-living homes to help residents maintain their independence.

Our staff do a fantastic job. During lockdown, our social workers continued to make face-to-face visits to the 1,000 children identified at being most at risk in Surrey.

We improved support for foster carers. In 2019-20 we recruited 37 new fostering households and five supported lodgings carers to provide homes for children growing up in council care.

Education: 94% of Surrey’s schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted. This means that Surrey’s 77 Ofsted-rated outstanding schools make it one of the best places to live in the UK.

All our children will have a place in a good or outstanding local school. Specialist education for our children is key and we are delivering 213 additional specialist school places this year, with an agreed £79 million programme of investment to provide 1,600 additional places for those with special educational needs and disabilities in Surrey.

In addition, we expanded the apprenticeship scheme so that young people get straight into work, helping Surrey’s young people to succeed.

Let’s keep up the progress we’re making for Surrey. Vote Conservative on May 6.

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Responses to Opinion: What Has Conservative-Run Surrey County Council Done For Us?

  1. Mark Bray-Parry Reply

    April 11, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    They “declared a climate emergency” but only when it became untenable not to. It was the Conservatives who opposed the climate emergency motion at SCC proposed by Green Party councillor Jonathan Essex just four months earlier.

    I thank Cllr Furniss for highlighting such an example of Tory SCC’s lack of leadership on climate and the environment.

    Mark Bray-Parry was the Parliamentary candidate for the Green Party at the 2019 general election

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