From the leader - Now let's work together

10 May 2024
Picture from high up of Liberal Democrats with diamond boards

A big thank you to everyone who voted in last week’s borough council elections. Local democracy depends upon engaged and active citizens, willing to play their part in local elections. In Wokingham we are fortunate that we have many people committed to the community who see it as a public duty to vote in local as well as general elections.

Elections are intense and combative affairs. While my colleagues and I sought to campaign positively, elections can involve pointed attacks on opponents and generate much bitterness and discord.

With the elections over, we should put all that behind us and try to work together for the better Wokingham that we all want.

The council lost some very dedicated councillors – of all parties – in these recent elections. But it also gained many new councillors, who will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas.

As leader of council, I will do all I can to create conditions in which councillors of all parties can play a meaningful part in policy making. I want to call on all the experience and all the talent available to help us make the best decisions for the benefit of the people and the businesses of the borough.

I will try, as I did in the last municipal year, to work collaboratively with councillors of other parties. I hope they will respond positively.

My own priorities are ones that I hope councillors of all parties can sign up to:

  • sound council finances, without which the council can do nothing positive for our residents and businesses in years to come

  • focusing help on those who need it most, such as the frail elderly, adults with learning difficulties, and children with disabilities, as well as those experiencing hardship

  • working with others – in the voluntary and charitable sector, faith groups, business, education, health care, the Youth Council, and different local authorities – to pool knowledge, experience, and resources to tackle the challenges we face together. The days when the council could do it all on its own have gone; constrained finances require a different approach. We need to modernize and adapt. It’s tempting to look inwards when times are tough. I want us to look outwards and embrace the opportunities that working with others can bring.

My vision is of a greener and more prosperous Wokingham, where everyone, whoever they are, can play their part. Just as we need to tap all the talents in the council chamber, so we need to tap all the talents in our community.

I will work with anyone who shares this vision.

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