Essex Liberal Democrats: Our Priorities for the 2013 Elections

April 9, 2013 6:22 PM

Our priorities for the 2013-2017 term at Essex County Council are outlined below.

Four years of Tory scandal and financial mismanagement

Over the last four years Conservative run Essex County Council has been hit by a series of financial and other scandals

  • The former Leader, Lord Hanningfield, was forced to resign over his House of Lords expenses for which he was imprisoned
  • Lord Hanningfield's ECC expenses were exposed which showed £287,000 had been spent over the five years 2005-10, the previous five years records having been destroyed
  • Further revelations showed his office staff claimed £70,000 over three years and ECC paid his £4,600 bar bill at the House of Lords
  • The Conservatives, with Labour support, refused a Liberal Democrat call for an Inquiry to establish who authorised those payments and why
  • The use of 'P' cards (payment cards) by officers was exposed which revealed £1.7m had been spent on luxury hotels, trips abroad and shopping sprees
  • Five cases of personal identity data were leaked or mislaid
  • The revelation that ECC had £14.5m of art treasures hidden away from public view
  • Developer contributions (Section 106 monies) were lost through inaction

Now is the time to sweep away the secrecy and open up the County Council to public scrutiny

The Liberal Democrats will make that change by:

  • Council meetings to be web cast
  • Allowing the public to speak and ask questions at Council meetings
  • No more decisions made behind closed doors

During the last four years the standard of basic services has fallen. The Liberal Democrats will change that by restoring services and improving others by:

  • Repairing roads properly, not just patching up
  • Improving poorly performing schools
  • Ending the shortage of school places
  • No more cuts to Library opening hours
  • Re-opening the Martins Farm, St Osyth Recycling Centre
  • No more Recycling Centre closures
  • Ensuring the under 5's nursery provision is fully taken up
  • Providing swimming concessions for the under 16's
  • Improving youth provision
  • Providing concessionary fares passes for those on Job Seekers Allowance and undertaking Apprenticeships
  • No more increases in car parking charges in ECC Country Parks
  • Protecting concessionary fares for pensioners
  • Stopping the street light switch off for review
  • Introduce '20 is plenty' - 20mph speed limit near schools and in residential areas

The Liberal Democrats will ensure value for money by:

Cutting waste and bureaucracy at County Hall

  • Using cash sitting in the Council's Banks
  • Cutting business trips and conferences
  • Reducing the number of Cabinet members and Deputies receiving allowances
  • Cutting the publicity budget
  • Slashing the use of expensive consultants
  • No more gimmicky projects like Banking in Essex which wasted £400,000
  • Making sure Developers contributions (Section 106 monies) are spent in time and not returned

See your candidates for Brentwood here.