On Thursday 3rd May, local elections are being held across London and throughout most of England. No one should doubt the importance of these elections because of the impact they have on vital services we all rely on every day such bin collection, street cleaning, and road repairs. They will also dictate decisions on how much council tax you will be paying. Your vote really does matter.
- This article has been co-written by MPs Mike Freer and Theresa Villiers.
As Conservatives we know that we can only deliver the services that residents want using money from hardworking taxpayers, so one of our highest priorities to manage that money effectively. On average Conservative council tax is over £100 lower a year than any other party; and in London, two Conservative councils charge the lowest council tax in the entire country. However, this is not at the expense of local services.
If we look at Westminster council, which can boast the lowest council tax in the country, they have kept all of their local libraries open, they collect their bins twice every week, provide daily street-cleaning and their children’s services were the first to be rate outstanding by Ofsted. Wandsworth council has the second lowest council tax in England, with 97% of their schools rated as good or outstanding.
This is at the core of Conservative values. We believe that every child deserves the best possible start in life and that every child has the chance to reach their full potential.
Conservative-led Barnet is home to some of the best schools in the country. The Council has kept its weekly bin collections when neighbouring boroughs run by Labour, Brent, Camden and Harrow, have switched to fortnightly collections. It has kept all its libraries open when Labour-run Brent has closed half of theirs.
Barnet Council has also been a firm friend of the Jewish community. For example, they have backed new faith schools reflecting different strands of Jewish thinking; they provide special Passover rubbish collections; and they were the first local authority in the country to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
Elsewhere in the country there are further examples of Conservative councils keeping their strong record of delivering good local services while managing local taxpayers money wisely and keeping council tax down. In the Midlands, since taking control of Dudley council last year, the Conservatives have reversed Labour’s street cleaning cuts and scrapped Labour’s plans to charge for green bin collections.
In Labour-run Birmingham bins have been left to go 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.
The Conservatives are determined to build the homes that this country needs. Conservative-led Barnet Council has built more new homes than any of its five neighbouring Labour boroughs: 4660 since 2014. It is delivering 27000 new homes as part of a 15 year regeneration of its major estates.
This is in stark contrast to Labour councils who have shelved plans to build new homes because of political infighting, putting politics above their constituents. Haringey Labour have confirmed that if they win they will ditch a project which would have created 6,400 new homes.
It can be easy to assume that low council tax, regular bin collections and clean streets are the norm if you have been living under a Conservative council for years. This is not the case. The choice on Thursday is between Conservative councillors delivering for your community, providing good local services while keeping your council tax down. Or Labour leaving you with less money in your pocket and worse services in your area. Councils do matter.
Please vote Conservative Thursday.