COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Rehman Chishti (centre) with Conservative colleagues


by REHMAN CHISHTI Conservative MP for Gillingham and Rainham and party vice-chairman for communities

ON THURSDAY (3), local elections are being held throughout England, and the whole of London.

These local elections are about how your local services are run, and how much you pay for them. It’s about how often your bins are collected, your streets and parks are swept and kept tidy, and your roads are repaired. Every one of these essential services that you rely on is dictated by your local council, as well as how much council tax you pay. Councils do matter and you have a right to your say.

So if you want well-run local services and your council tax kept down and managed wisely, your vote on Thursday is important. Our Conservative councils up and down the country work tirelessly to deliver for their communities. In London and across the country, Conservative councils have a record of delivering good local services while man­aging local taxpayers’ money wisely and keeping council tax down. On average, Conservative council tax is over £100 lower a year than any other party.

In London, two Conservative councils charge the lowest council tax in the entire country. This is not at the expense of local services. Westminster coun­cil has fought to keep all of their local libraries open, they collect their bins twice every week, pro­vide daily street-cleaning, and its children’s servic­es were the first to be rated outstanding by Ofsted. This is one of many examples of a Conservative council delivering good local services and excep­tional value for money for local taxpayers.

Wandsworth council has the second lowest council tax in England, with 97 per cent of their schools rated as good or outstanding. This is at the core of Conservative values, as we believe that every child deserves the best possible start in life, ensuring that no talent slips through the net. Kensington and Chelsea is the only borough in London were every school is rated as good or outstanding. On top of this, the Conservative council has pioneered the building of three new secondary schools and will be build­ing a new special school in North Kensington.

The Conservatives are determined to build the homes that this country needs, and Wandsworth council is a prime example of a council using their initiative to help secure homes for more London­ers. It has invested £150 million in the largest coun­cil house-building programme in the country, to deliver good homes for local people all for the sec­ond lowest council tax in England.

In contrast, we have seen Labour councils in London shelving plans to build new homes be­cause of political infighting, again putting politics above the people. Haringey Labour have confirmed that they will ditch the Haringey development vehi­cle if they won on Thursday, this development would have created 6,400 new homes. This is fur­ther proof of the distance between rhetoric and re­ality when it comes to Labour.

This is not an isolated incident; we have seen Southwark Labour voting to delay the building of a development that would have seen 1,000 new homes being built in Elephant and Castle and in Lewisham; between 2007 and 2017 the Labour council built just six new council houses.

In Labour-run Birmingham, bins have gone un­collected, leaving thousands of tons of rubbish spilling out on the streets. And local residents are being charged more for these poor services. On average, Labour councils charge £116 more in council tax in England than Conservative councils.

The Conservatives are determined to protect the environment for future generations and to ensure we are keeping the streets clean, so that local com­munities are a cleaner and nicer place to live. As well as our councils providing regular bin collec­tions, in Conservative-run Wandsworth we have seen air pollution being significantly reduced.

The choice on Thursday is between Conservative councillors delivering for your community, provid­ing good local services while keeping your council tax low. Or Labour leaving you with less money in your pocket and worse services in your area.

Councils are a fundamental part of British de­mocracy, providing essential services people rely on every day. Local politics touch every part of your life. Councils do matter and the Conservatives are passionate about local values and services.

This is your chance to vote for better services in your area, for low council tax and local councillors who will put residents’ needs ahead of politics.