Tuesday, May 04, 2004

What do I stand for?

As a member of the Conservative Party, many of my views are likely to be pretty party orthodox: for example, I believe in low taxes.


In the case of Hart District Council, I have spoken strongly in favour of keeping council tax low in both budgets since I have become a councillor. My reasons for doing so are

  • In general, I believe it is better for people to choose how to spend their money than for government to do so.
  • Despite a generally healthy economy, high technology companies in and near Hart continue to lay off people. WHen you're laid off, paying any bill is tough.
  • There is a large and growing number of retired people living in Hart. A few months ago I was speaking to a retired lady who told me that her weekly pension was £81 and her monthly council tax bill before rebates was £85.


I strongly believe that education should be the top priority for government. A well-educated population will make for a strong economy; a strong economy will make reasonable govenment spending affordable. At the district council level there is little that I can do for local education, with the exception of ensuring that local developers make appropriate contributions (see below). I have argued for this in the past and will continue to do so in the future.


Like many people in Hart, ideally I'd like to see little or no development. However I accept that there is a need for more homes in the South of England and that Hart needs to build its share. However

  • We should aim for the minimum density achievable: we do not want to replicate inner-city densities in Hart. For example, there are parts of Hook that feel like a country town immediately adjacent to those newer parts that don't.
  • It's vital to ensure that all developers pay appropriate contributions to cover the costs the new homes impose. For example, a typical three-bedroom home will have children living in it; these children will need to go to local schools; if there are enough extra children, the school will need to build new classrooms.
  • New developments need to be safe.
  • The government may have the idea that if you don't provide parking then people won't buy cars. I see no evidence that this is true in Hook. Consequently we need to provide adequate parking when new houses are built.

A Load of Rubbish

Every week, our bin-men collect tons of rubbish. Some of it is recycled, but only 15%. The government has told us we must recycle 22% by next year and 33% two years after that. I don't like government targets, but I have sympathy with this one. Many people in Hart don't seem to use the blue recycling bins. If everyone did, we might well meet these targets without having to do anything else.

It's really not difficult: just remember that those blue bins can take

  • newspapers, catalogues, magazines, cardboard and junk mail (every get any of that?)
  • food, drink and pet-food cans
  • plastic bottles of many types - fizzy drinks, shampoo, milk, washing up liquid, and so on. Just remove the cap, please!

Each household in Hart throws away a ton of rubbish every year; that's right, over 2,000 lbs or about 1,000 kilos. Recycling can help us reduce landfill sites and make England a more pleasant place to live.

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