Wed, 17 Apr 2019
WEST Berkshire Conservative Party has released its manifesto ahead of the 2019 local elections on May 2.
The manifesto, entitled ‘four more years of success’, sets out what the group will do if it is re-elected for another four-year term.
The 12-page manifesto is broken down into three key sections:
. Keeping West Berkshire a great place to live with public services that work for everyone
. Caring for residents and thereby ensuring all residents have the chance to thrive
. Being open for business to enable a strong local economy
The party says it will continue to focus on the delivery of affordable housing to ensure that more people can afford a home and that housing stock meets the needs of residents – but stopped short of committing to a figure.
It says that 22.5 per cent of all the homes delivered in the district since 2015, when the party came into power locally, have been affordable.
Another manifesto commitment is to “work with local communities to ensure they have the infrastructure they need to meet their needs”.
The group said it also wanted to keep the number of schools in West Berkshire rated good or outstanding above 90 per cent.
Currently, 95 per cent of all schools in the district are rated as either good or outstanding.
The Conservatives have also promised regular kerbside waste collections, as well as making a commitment to “put the environment at the heart of everything we do” and protect green spaces by working with partners.
It added that it will invest in infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging points and road schemes that improve traffic flow.
Developing and delivering an integrated leisure strategy which will deliver high quality facilities was also among the commitments outlined.
The document boasts the fact that West Berkshire is one of the top six places to live in England.
It also says it is good at looking after vulnerable residents, young and old.
In fact, that was the reason leader Graham Jones gave for three successive years of council tax rises.
He said the council now spends around 65 per cent of its entire budget on just three per cent of the population – mainly caring for children and the elderly.
Mr Jones said that if the Conservatives were re-elected in may, they would be committed to keeping council tax “as low as it can be”.
However he added: “I can’t say council tax won’t go up at all, because we don’t know what the future will hold.
“Anyone, or any group, who claims they can commit to freezing council tax, is frankly, lying."
When asked why people would vote Conservative after cuts to a number of public services since 2015, Mr Jones said: “We have taken the difficult decisions to ensure that future generations won’t be picking up the debt left by the previous Government.”
The manifesto states: “West Berkshire Conservatives have a strong track record.
“The council is well run, provides good services and invests in education, infrastructure and the environment to the benefit of all our residents.
“The manifesto demonstrates why voters should put their faith in a party that delivers locally and has done so for many years.”
Mr Jones added: “Over the last four years, despite many challenges, we have been delivering on the commitments we made in 2015.
“This manifesto sets out our ambitions for the next four years. To deliver on these promises we will continue to work with people and communities across the district to ensure West Berkshire continues to thrive and remains a great place to live.”
The full manifesto can be viewed here