Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government

Many council seats are up for grabs on May 6. Where they are in control, David Cameron’s Councils reveal a Tory program of cuts and increased charges.

Our guest writer is Mary Thorogood (@marythorogood), Editor of Cameron’s Councils

Amid the excitement of the leaders’ debates and hung parliament number-crunching, the local elections have taken even more of a backseat than usual. But one third of seats on unitary, district and metropolitan councils and all seats in the 32 London boroughs are up for grabs on May 6.

The Tories are looking to build on their success local election success in 2006. Where they are in control of local authorities, David Cameron says that Tory councils “demonstrate Conservative government in action”. But the decisions of Cameron’s Councils reveal a Tory program of cuts and increased charges driven by dogma rather than the needs of local communities.

Many Tory councils refuse to take up Labour initiatives intended to benefit families and pensioners, like free swimming, for purely ideological reasons. One Tory Leader said, “We do not in principle favour ‘free this and free that’, such as swimming or transport, school meals or computers or whatever it is.”

The actions of Cameron’s Councils include:

Hiking charges for the most vulnerable in Wandsworth where Tory Leader Eddie Lister wants to “increase charges as far as possible beyond inflation so that consumers bear the full cost.”

Slashing frontline services in Harlow

• Treating council tenants with contempt in Hammersmith and Fulham

• Cutting investment in young people in Brighton

Barnet Council’s ‘budget airline’ approach, where residents will have to pay ‘top up’ charges for all but the most basic services has been well-documented. But it’s not just Barnet that’s following this model. Walsall and Wolverhampton are just two more of the many councils hitting families and the vulnerable with charges they can’t afford for services they desperately need. The actions of these councils are often in direct opposition to Tory national policy, leading to accusations that the Tories are ‘saying one thing but doing another’.

So when David Cameron says he wants to “create a supportive funding environment for volunteer-based charities and community groups” or that he wants to encourage a “Green Consumer Revolution” by rewarding recycling, his councils in Swindon and South Ribble, Dartford, Calderdale and Bexley are doing the exact opposite.

These are not just the actions of one or two rogue councillors unconnected to the national party. Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader of Tory Hammersmith and Fulham, is Conservative Home’s Local Hero 2008 and a former head of David Cameron’s Council Innovation Unit. Mike Freer, ex-Leader of Barnet Council and architect of easy-councils is the Tory candidate for Margaret Thatcher’s old seat of Finchley and Golders Green. These people are at the heart of the Tory vision for Britain.

There’s a generation of voters who are curious about what a Tory government looks like and the memory of the last Tory government is dim at best for many more. But far away from the debate beauty parade, millions are already experiencing what the government may well look like on May 7. We can’t say we weren’t warned.

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20 Responses to “Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government”

  1. Nadia

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  2. AylesburyLibDems

    RT @HouseofTwits: RT @leftfootfwd Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  3. Andy

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  4. Mary Thorogood

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  5. Adrian

    "Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government | Left Foot Forward" ( http://bit.ly/9RKh4N )

  6. Claire Spencer

    You can add Brum to that. RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  7. Matthew Draycott

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  8. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  9. Mark Willis

    RT @HouseofTwits: RT @leftfootfwd Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  10. Sue Davies

    And Tory East Sussex County Council – who need to reduce recycling in order to fulfil their committment to the new incinerator which is being built in Newhaven with almost 100% local opposition… and as a stop-gap, want to put land raise sites on top of woodland in Laughton. The incinerator owners have also been allowed to stop access to the beach at Newhaven… ESCC are environmental vandals!

  11. Adam Thomas

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  12. Garry Dent

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  13. Coventry Labour

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8 Coventry no different

  14. Coventry Labour

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8 Coventry no different

  15. Mr. Sensible

    As a Nottinghamshire resident under a Tory-controlled County Council for nearly a year I can safely vouch for what you all are saying.

    You can see examples of how Tory Notts County Council is behaving through the article archive of the Nottingham Evening Post website:
    http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/article-archive.html

    What I find interesting is that David Cameron accuses Labour of scaremongering in connection with the free bus passes.

    Yet, the Tory candidates for Gedling and Shirwood are County Councillors who are presiding over cuts to free bus passes.

    You couldn’t make it up!

  16. dannykpowell

    Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/aWuWCg

  17. Jupiter Jones

    It’s worse than that. When you look at Boris you realise the Tories have very few actual plans, other than winning and maintaining power. Cameron’s policies seem to be based mostly on a) not being Gordon Brown and b) having quite a nice wife. Boris took eighteen months to produce anything approaching a strategy, and anyone working within London’s civic society can tell you what an empty circus City Hall has become.

  18. Mary Thorogood

    @GreensladeR so local government is now rarely properly scrutinised http://bit.ly/bexxu8

  19. Amy Bentley

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron’s Councils show the real face of Tory government http://bit.ly/bexxu8

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