From the leader - The Choice is Yours

4 Apr 2024
Stephen Conway headshot

In these local elections, you have a clear choice.

You can support the current Lib Dem administration at Wokingham to enable it to continue to work for a better future for us all.

Or you can opt for a Conservative party now offering a host of unfunded and undeliverable promises to win favour, imitating at the local level the disastrous approach of Liz Truss, whose unfunded mini-budget is still costing many of us a lot of money.

In our daily lives, we are rightly wary of those offering something for nothing. There is no reason to adopt a different approach when unfunded promises are made at election time.

I hope you will choose to trust us to continue to run the council responsibly, with long-term stability taking precedence over short-term expediency.

If we are re-elected, we will continue to be guided by three priorities, which we believe are vital to building a better future.

Sound Finances

First, sound finances. In a very challenging environment, where many councils are facing effective bankruptcy, tough decisions are inescapably necessary.

Councils cannot keep dipping into reserves to pay for ever more expensive statutory services; they must cover their costs either through savings or by generating new income.

We are trying to control growing demand for services, particularly in the expensive statutory areas of adult and children’s social care, by acquiring a new care home and building new special educational needs schools in the borough to reduce home to school transport costs in the future.

Helping those who need it

As these examples suggest, the second priority for us over the last two years has been helping those who most need help. That means disabled children and the frail elderly, for whom every day is a struggle, and the growing number of members of our community for whom the cost-of-living crisis has brought stress, anxiety, and acute hardship.

Acquiring a new care home, building new special educational needs and disabilities schools, and contributing with our partners in the local voluntary and charitable sector to building up a hardship fund for those in financial distress are ways in which we have delivered on that priority.


That brings me to our third priority – working with others to maximize our ability to make a difference. Partnership working – with the voluntary and charitable sector, business, the University of Reading, other Berkshire councils, and many others – has been a hallmark of our approach.

In tough times, it can be tempting to look inwards. We have recognized that the right course is to look outwards and embrace the opportunities of working in partnership to address challenges together.

If you share our view that sound council finances, focusing on those who most need help, and working in partnership is the right way forward, please support us to continue our efforts to make the borough a better place to live and work.

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