Deputy leaders talk finance in Portsmouth election battle

CANDIDATE Hugh Mason
CANDIDATE Hugh Mason
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TWO Portsmouth candidates standing for election this year hold identical posts – but for rival parties.

Tory Donna Jones and Lib Dem Hugh Mason are both deputy leaders and finance chiefs of their groups. On May 3 their parties will battle it out for control of the city council and one question on voters’ minds is how they will spend the public’s money.

STANDING Donna Jones

STANDING Donna Jones

Cllr Jones, standing in Hilsea, said she thought the council’s finances needed dragging into the twenty-first century.

‘I’ve worked in the private sector all my life,’ she said. ‘And from that and running my own business I get so frustrated at the waste in the council. We need to learn from how big private companies organise their IT and HR divisions and get rid of the internal jobs market at the council.

‘If elected I would balance the budget and scrutinise every penny that we spend, especially on huge projects like the Somers Town Hub.’

Cllr Mason, standing in the St Jude ward, said: ‘I’m concerned that as well as managing the services as best we can by working better and more efficiently, we must keep spending money on capital projects because we must maintain Portsmouth as an attractive location to live and invest – projects such as pedestrianising Palmerston Road, investing in libraries and our recreational facilities, and keeping open the Pyramids.’