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June 4 elections: Northamptonshire

Jim_Harker Cllr Jim Harker, the Conservative leader of Northamptonshire County Council, outlines the Conservative vision for the next four years.

Our manifesto sets out what we have achieved and how we intend to build on what we have achieved, to ensure Northamptonshire County Council is a well managed and efficient organisation that puts our customers and residents first, protects the vulnerable and enables people to look after themselves.

Our agenda for the next four years will see us prioritise the following:

  • A prosperous economy that helps to protect and create jobs across the County.
  • Giving elderly people a wider choice of better quality care.
  • Providing young people with wider, richer education and life experiences and opportunities.
  • Strong emphasis on partnership working and value for money.
  • Smaller government, low taxes, reducing costs and waste.

Our Key Pledges will see us:
  • Extend our ‘In Control’ scheme to help another 1000 people choose and decide how they want to live, and have more control over their care.
  • Provide support to those who want to stay in their own homes and we will work with the Health Service to improve the process for providing aids and adaptations.
  • Working with the Health Service to ensure that those who have to go into residential care are safe and are well looked after in modern, well equipped and efficiently run care facilities.
  • Recognise and support carers whilst working with individuals and carer’s groups to give them financial, emotional and practical support when and where they need it.
  • Ensure that safeguarding children remains a key priority for the County Council. We will invest extra money to ensure we have all the skills and capacity necessary to safeguard and protect those children who are at risk of being abused or neglected.
  • Introduce the Northamptonshire Pupil Pledge which will set out what children and young people can expect from the County Council, and in turn what we expect from them. This will be at the centre of education in Northamptonshire, as Conservatives believe every school in the
    County should be a great school.
  • Work with schools to place an emphasis on improving discipline and ensuring that the actions of a disruptive minority cannot be allowed to undermine the majority of pupils who want to learn and progress.
  • Discourage the consumption of unsuitable energy drinks that contain high levels of caffeine. These drinks are unsuitable for children and have been linked to disruptive behaviour in the classroom.
  • Actively promote competitive sports in our schools. This will help drive and motivate pupils to give them a competitive advantage and excite them about the 2012 Olympics.
  • Minimise waste, reduce the cost of ‘home composters’ and work with supermarkets to reduce excess packaging. We will also continue to clamp down on fly tippers and will do all we can to successfully prosecute offenders.
  • Ensure the County’s flood defences are well maintained through a Northamptonshire-wide review of our flood defences to help ensure a repeat of the 1998 floods cannot happen again.
  • Only continue to accept the MKSM growth proposals if infrastructure is provided which meets the needs of both existing and new communities. Consequently, if the provision of infrastructure is inadequate, we will demand an immediate scaling back of housing proposals across the County.
  • Address the serious challenge of traffic congestion and freight traffic passing through the County, which will include for example the use of weight restriction orders.
  • Introduce a smart card payment system, similar to the Oyster Card in London which will make it even easier and convenient for residents to use public transport.
  • Review the number of speed cameras in the County as it is time Northamptonshire has a more balanced approach to improving safety on our roads. We will also adopt a new approach towards traffic calming measures to include greater use of vehicle activated signs and speed watch initiatives, instead of more traditional methods.
  • Review all white and yellow line parking restrictions in Northamptonshire. This will give us the opportunity to positively address any parking issues, help to reduce congestion and make our shopping areas more accessible to motorists.
  • Developing a major partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council and Slough Borough Council to deliver local services in a more efficient way. This new way of working will help us to revolutionise the way the County Council operates and is already helping us to save £1.25m a
  • The Conservatives are committed to keeping the level of Council Tax as low as possible, which will help hardworking families across the County during these uncertain economic times.
  • Ensure there are more uniformed police officers patrolling the streets across Northamptonshire. In addition to providing £500,000 per annum for extra Police Community Support Officers, we will work with the Police on promoting the role of Special Constables.

During the next four years, the Conservatives want to maintain the momentum of change that has helped to transform how the Council operates and the services it delivers. Our performance and the improvements we have made have been recognised and praised, but we know this journey is far from over.

We will put the customer at the heart of what we do and ensure that as a customer focused organisation, residents can easily contact the Council and feel confident that any enquiry or problem they may have will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Our vision for the County Council is to deliver a flexible and proactive organisation that is able to quickly adapt and react to the uncertain times ahead, whilst delivering high quality services that represent value for money.


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