Suffolk campaign gets going as parties launch bid for county council
PUBLISHED: 14:18 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:31 17 March 2017
The real campaign for this year’s county council elections in Suffolk has started as members of the authority gathered for the final meeting of the current authority.
Parties used the final meeting of the four-year council to come together to launch their campaigns – and the ruling Conservative group published its 10-point manifesto for the May 4 elections.
All 75 seats at Endeavour House will be up for election in the poll on May 4. At present the Tories hold 37 seats with the opposition split between Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Green Party, and independents.
Some parties invited candidates as well as their sitting councillors to their pre-council meetings – and the Conservatives used the meeting to formally launch their manifesto.
That has 10 points: keeping council tax down, improving roads, caring for vulnerable people, improving education, improving health and wellbeing, supporting bus and rail services, building new infrastructure, improving the county’s economy, protecting the environment, and using Conservative values to run the council.
Council leader Colin Noble said: “We started working on the manifesto two years ago – and we had a meeting to finally agree its contents last month.
“This is a fully-costed manifesto to provide a solid base to provide the services that the county needs and expects.”
Mr Noble contrasted his party’s manifesto with that of the Labour opposition – they are promising to use some of the council’s reserves to reverse some of the spending cuts introduced by the administration over the last year.
Mr Noble said: “We believe the Labour proposals are dangerous because they would soon use up all the council reserves which are not that large anyway.”
Labour councillors also gathered before the meeting. They are hoping to win more seats, especially in the Lowestoft area – they are hoping that a fall in support for UKIP could benefit them.
Meanwhile eight of the nine UKIP councillors also gathered before the meeting – several will not be standing in May because of the difficulty in combining council work with their full-time job.
The LibDems are hoping that their national fightback will be reflected in the Suffolk poll.