You have probably heard that the Tory-controlled Swindon Borough Council (SBC) is to introduce an extra tier of local government in Swindon – the new “Parishes” of Central North, Central South and West Swindon.
They can raise money from local residents, but through a legal loophole it does not count as an increase in Council Tax – so Tory SBC can claim they are not breaking their own Government’s limits. But, if you look at your Council Tax bill, you will see that the overall figure has actually gone up by 11%! An average property is now paying £115 a year more for the same services.
But this is not just down to the Tories. This massive increase is down to Jeremy Corbyn’s local Labour councillors, who dominate the “shadow” Parish Councils, voting with the Conservatives.
The new Parish Councils will take on street cleaning, grass cutting, play areas, parks maintenance, graffiti removal and possibly libraries if they apply to take a library on – all services which are valued by local families and which help to keep our town a pleasant, decent place to live and work in. So however much we may deplore the “fix” that created them, it is important that they work as responsively and efficiently as possible. We need them to do the “right things” in our community and we want them to do things right. To do this we need Parish Councillors with a desire to get involved, to have ideas, to discuss them with residents and to ensure money is spent sensibly.
In short, Liberal Democrat councillors! Our party has long had a reputation for working on local issues, listening to local residents and putting people first. We believe in making decisions as close as possible to the people they affect. We want to bring these values to the new Parish Councils. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour want to control the Parishes as a way into SBC. And the Conservatives – well, they want the increase in “Council Tax” without being blamed for it!
How can we, as Liberal Democrat Members, help the new councils to work in favour of the people whose homes and jobs are in their parishes?
- You can stand as a candidate and put your local knowledge and skills at the service of your neighbours
- If that is too much of a commitment, you can help other candidates by canvassing and leafleting on their behalf. An hour’s leafleting can reach 150 homes – more in some areas like Eastcott – as well as being a great way to get fit and see what is going on!
- If that is not for you, a donation towards the cost of leaflet printing would be a great help
Our successful crowdfunding campaign in 2016 showed that there is support out there for LD values. From our stance on Europe and the Brexit negotiations to our track record in local representation, people are realising they need the Liberal Democrats. Be part of it!