CONSERVATIVES were whipped into a campaign frenzy at its manifesto launch ahead of the local elections in May – with the party pledging investment in education and protecting vital services.
Portsmouth Tories will continue to ‘generate more money’ for taxpayers and the city through its austerity programme after taking over from the ‘poor management’ of the Liberal Democrats in 2014.
Priorities touted were to keep council tax low, protect weekly bin collections, build new toilet facilities and council homes, make Portsmouth greener, repair pot holes and roads, as well as tackle homelessness.
Speaking at the Royal Albert Yacht Club in old Portsmouth, leader of the council Donna Jones said the Tories were ‘confident’ of winning the elections on May 3 and continuing to ensure the city thrives.
‘Today is a really proud day for us. Our fantastic Conservative government published the end of year results for 2017 and for the first time since 2001 this party has returned this country to budget neutrality,’ she said.
‘This is significant for future generations and it is through this sensible fiscal management over the last eight years that we will be able to protect public services moving forward.’
Cllr Jones spoke of how the Tories grew support after turning a small minority of just 12 councillors in 2014 to 20 out of 42 today – just two seats short of a majority.
The council leader spoke of key triumphs over the last four years that included turning around an ‘education crisis’ to now having 85 per cent of children going to a school that is either ‘good or outstanding’.
The party’s national chairman, Brandon Lewis MP, rallied Tory campaigners after proudly declaring Portsmouth had ‘one of the best council leaders in the country’.
He also stressed the importance of relentless electioneering over the next few weeks with ‘every vote counting’.
‘What’s important for people to know in Portsmouth is that they are paying less in council tax than other places like Southampton, who pay £154 more and who have got rid of weekly bin collections.’