Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 23rd September 2015

When Labour last ran the council we built up over £100m in reserves, through proper investment this enabled Crawley to finance services most towns could only dream of.

Regaining control in 2014 we found that despite eight years’ of cuts, much of the council’s reserves had been spent or were committed to projects so far advanced that cancelling them would have meant only waste.

We’re dedicated to providing residents with high-quality services and doing so in a way which is financially sustainable for the long-term. That’s why we’ve worked hard to generate additional income for the council, rather than simply cutting away, and have done so without putting the financial burden on Crawley residents.

It wasn’t easy, but by using the council’s remaining reserves to either generate a significant return or reduce the borough’s ongoing costs we found space not only to maintain local services but improve them.

Labour ran a balanced budget last year—our first year back—and we’re on course to do so again this year, all the while maintaining the flexibility to allow services to transform in a way which is best for the long-term instead of kneejerk cuts to hit an end-of-year target.

Despite the cuts from central government we’re working on a range of improvements for the town, such as increasing Tilgate Park’s and K2’s facilities, more affordable housing for local people, improving job opportunities and upskilling workers, and making Crawley a ‘greener’ town to name just a few. Much can still be done in a time of austerity, but only with a party which believes in the role of Government in providing services for residents.

Power should never be sought for its own sake but for the opportunity to serve the public good. That’s why Crawley Labour produces manifestos for local elections, not only to put of policies before voters but to have a plan ready for implementation on day one. Government isn’t easy, you can’t just work it out when you get there. In 2016 Crawley Labour will be producing another local manifesto, let’s hope we’re not the only ones for once.

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