Will Forster

Lib Dem Borough Councillor for Hoe Valley and County Councillor for Woking South Learn more

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Cronyism and sleaze

by willforster on 29 April, 2021

Nationally, the Conservatives have been accused of cronyism and sleaze over recent weeks.  Locally, the Lib Dem Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, Paul Kennedy, has challenged the Tory candidate’s claims that their links with Ministers will somehow deliver more police funding for Surrey.

The Conservative candidate, who worked for Tory MPs for nearly 10 years, and has since stood for Parliament in Norwich South and worked as a lobbyist, made the claims at last week’s BBC Surrey Radio hustings.

This claim went down like a lead ballon in the hustings, as despite Surrey regularly voting for the Tories – our county does not get our fair share of funding.  Instead of getting more funding because Surrey tends to vote Conservative, experience shows that the Government just take Surrey for granted.

The Tories in Surrey always claim that their close links with Ministers will deliver more funding for residents, but they never do.  The current Independent Police and Crime Commissioner – who was elected as a Conservative in 2016 but lost the nomination this time – failed to get extra funding using their party links, and the same goes for Tories at Surrey County Council.  The Police Commissioner increased Surrey Police’s Council Tax precept by 30% instead of extra Government funding.

Surrey’s 11 MPs – including Woking’s MP – say they will help, but year after year they just vote for inadequate funding settlements for Surrey’s police and local government.  In fact it is often non-Conservative administrations which put a better case for Government funding.  For example, Lib Dem-controlled Mole Valley recently won Government funding to carbon-proof its buildings and for extra electric vehicle charging points in its car parks.

I think the last few weeks have shown we need politicians, both locally and nationally, that have integrity and embrace openness and transparency – not ones accursed of cronyism and sleaze.

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