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Opinion

Peter Lamb: Problems with public services can be fixed

In his article this week, Peter Lamb talks about how public services can be turned around.

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For almost two years Crawley NHS has been in financial ‘Special Measures’, unable to afford the treatments residents need on the money they get from Government.

We get daily reminders Sussex Police can no longer cope having lost 800 officers and PCSOs since 2010. Local headteachers have even marched on Downing Street because Crawley’s schools cannot survive on their allocated budgets.

That public services stand on the brink is unsurprising given the Government has been focused on only one thing for the last three years and have been proven unable to deliver even that one thing.

I don’t say this because I believe the situation is hopeless, I say it because it can be fixed if only we had the will to act. Crawley Borough Council is building affordable homes for local people on a scale not seen in decades, we’re one of only a sixth of councils still providing a weekly bin collection and by investing smartly to generate income we’re still spending the same on services as when I became Leader, despite the Government taking all of Crawley’s grant and our council having the lowest council tax increase of any council in the county for most of my five years. In opposition, local Conservatives told me these things couldn’t be done, we showed them that if you have the vision and determination to do it anything is possible. The same is true on the national level.

At these Local Elections voters are posed with a simple choice, put the same people back in control who spent eight years cutting our services last time, who are failing to run our local county council and police effectively, and nationally have driven the country into chaos, or keep Crawley Labour running the only tier of the town’s governance which is delivering for Crawley.

Opinion

Crawley’s LEAVE voters could inadvertently end up voting to STAY in this general election

With the new Brexit party now an addition to the ballot paper, those who voted to ‘LEAVE’ the EU may end up handing the election to a REMAIN party.

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It had a 73.2% turnout when Crawley went to vote on whether the UK should leave or remain in the EU, and with 58.4% of the vote the town decided they wanted Brexit.

To put some context with actual numbers, 31,447 voted to leave while 22,388 voted to stay.

The country has had three years of misery as Parliament has been unable to follow through with what was voted for – but hey, let’s not get bogged down in what we already all know.

Now comes a general election and one that hopefully may sort out this sorry mess.

But will it?

Let’s assume that peoples voting decision has largely remained unchanged, then Crawley is still a leave town, but will it be after this election?

With the addition of the Brexit party now an option for voters here, its enticing image and rhetoric could be something a leave voter is won over by and if this is the case then there could be a shock for the town.

The chances are that Brexit party voters are likely to come from the right, namely normally Conservative voters, which could dilute a leave parties numbers.

At the last General Election in 2017 the Conservatives won by a majority of only 2,457 which means it does not take many people voting differently to change things abruptly.

Whilst physical numbers for the town may state that the residents want to leave, their voting may end up saying the opposite as they split their votes amongst parties allowing a remain party to win.

Of course the opposite is also possible. You only have to look at the huge change in numbers that allowed the Conservatives to retain both seats in the recent by-election in Tilgate to see a hint of that.

But with messages still unclear from all parties of what they are offering it is this confusion that could be a leave voters undoing.

Whilst every party is promising the world in order to attract your vote, (NHS protection, Rail made public again etc) they need to remember that this election was only ever going to be about one thing…Brexit.

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