When money is scarce, every decision matters

New commercial life is sprouting in Copnor Road

VERITY LUSH: Green shoots of recovery sprouting in northern Portsmouth

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Times are tight financially and family budgets squeezed.

So it is important, therefore, that local councils spend their taxpayers’ money wisely and try and get more for less.

Locally not only has the Liberal Democrat-run Portsmouth City Council frozen its council tax for the third year running but it is also delivering more for its residents, compared to other councils.

Unlike the other Conservative-run councils locally it has kept weekly bin collections and is also saving £10m over eight years on a new contract and getting £150,000 from central government for keeping its collections weekly.

While other councils have closed libraries, the new Southsea library is going from strength to strength.

I understand it now lends more books than the main central library and an exhibition space on the first floor is helping local artists and craftspeople.

Solar panels have also been installed, saving £14,000 a year. Good news for both the environment and the council.

The Lib Dems have ensured all children’s centres in Portsmouth have stayed open and it is also keeping youth centres open longer.

And this has not only given youngsters something to do but keeps them off the streets, reducing crime and saving money.

Indeed the Home Office has calculated that successful crime reduction measures by the council in conjunction with its partner organisations has saved the city £2m in the costs associated with crime.

Portsmouth’s fostering service has just been judged to be outstanding by Ofsted. And thanks to many dedicated foster parents, the council has increased the number of foster placements, not only giving many kids a better life but also saving millions in care costs.

But there are also things that Portsmouth is rightly spending less money on.

Its councillors receive £143,000 less in allowances than Tory-run Southampton, a council of a similar size and Portsmouth’s chief executive gets £50,000 less: some £200,000 a year more that can be spent on council services.

So, by backing the Lib Dems, people can ensure that hard work, smarter thinking and prudent finances will continue to mean that we can improve Portsmouth.