One of the most impressive Conservative gains in the local elections last May was in Southampton, where the Conservatives were swept to power on a radical programme. Here the Council leader Cllr Alec Samuels outlines what is happening there.
We are pledged never to impose a council tax above inflation, and preferably lower. We do not in principle favour “free this and free that”, eg swimming or transport, school means or computers or whatever it is, because it always involves earmarking for particular groups, and not everybody wants to swim or go by bus or whatever. We prefer to leave money in people’s pockets so that they can spend their money as they wish.
We are concerned at the deteriorating position of pensioners, so we are introducing a 10% discount on council tax for households comprising solely pensioners over pension age.
Also we are introducing 100% discount for special constables, who give their services free to help protect the public. The Chief Constable is very supportive of this idea.
In order to support the economy, we support business and employment. The first call on developers’ contributions is recruitment and training of local labour. The improvement of the local principal road network has a high priority, in answer to business requests. Infrastructure is the key to future prosperity. A business improvement district (BID) proposal is strongly supported. As a comparatively small city, under 250,000 and built up to the boundaries, we have eagerly joined with our neighbouring local authorities in the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH), principally for joint sub regional economic advance.