No doubt with this in mind they launched their manifesto for Hammersmith & Fulham's local elections yesterday, and they pulled no punches in their assessment of either the current Council ("narrow, divisive") or the Labour opposition ("imploding").
Here's their prescription for a better life in our borough:
1) Wholehearted commitment to improving our environment, and working with residents to help cut pollution and stop climate change, such as making our homes more self-sufficient and increasing recycling to over 50% of household waste.
- The Tories’ record is woeful compared with that in Lib Dem-run boroughs. Many Tory supporters still deny the threat of climate change. The Tory administration is even in dispute with the London Mayor over replacing our crumbling sewers so as to stop sewage being discharged by floods.
2) Sustainable development that meets the needs of residents while preserving our environment. We want fewer huge office and shopping developments like Westfield Shopping Centre, greater support for local businesses and markets, and affordable homes for residents and key workers to meet local needs.
- The Tories meanwhile are more interested in pandering to commercial developers than to putting residents first.
3) An approach to crime and anti-social behaviour which focuses on crime prevention, community involvement in policing and sentencing, and tackling re-offending.
- The Tories talk tough on crime and sentencing, but have actually cut police numbers and done nothing to tackle the underlying problem of offending behaviour.
4) A new approach to transport and traffic management which stresses the needs of local residents, visitors and workers to travel safely, conveniently and cheaply. For example, consulting all residents on the introduction of a 20mph speed limit, and making it easier and safer to walk, cycle or use public transport.
- The Tories’ plans for developing the Borough will simply bring in more traffic.
5) Working to improve Council services for the whole community – including care for the elderly and disabled, youth and supporting facilities, childcare and sheltered housing, and support and local accountability instead of bureaucratic targets for our schools and social services.
- The Tories have cut many services altogether or made them so inaccessible or expensive that nobody can use them any more. Meanwhile, only 55% of secondary pupils attend their first choice school
6) Genuine public consultation, accountability and scrutiny for all the Council’s activities and funding, so as to ensure sustainable improvements in services and value-for-money.
- The Tories have failed to consult residents on key decisions such as how to use funding from the Government and Transport for London; have resorted to raiding reserves, asset sales and off-balance-sheet financing to fund their latest pre-election bribes; and have exploited the Council’s website and newspaper to pump out Conservative party propaganda.
7) Stop Council budget cuts that are cutting vital services. Labour raised Council Taxes to unsustainable and unfair levels but the Conservatives have gone to the other extreme and are cutting or charging for services residents want and need
Henrietta Bewley, Chair of Hammersmith & Fulham Liberal Democrats said: “The Liberal Democrats offer residents real choice and accountability. The current Council administration has failed to listen to residents’ needs whether with regard to safeguarding front-line services or on planning issues.
“By voting for the Liberal Democrats on May 6th, you will be sending a strong message to the Tory controlled Council that the interests of residents should come first.”