People BEFORE Parties
People must come first, not party politics. At the heart of SDP’s Local Government Policy is the ‘no whip’ commitment. SDP councillors must adhere to SDP constitutionally enshrined values and their commitment is to YOU, the constituent. This means that SDP councillors, unlike their counterparts in established parties, aren’t obligated to vote according to the party agenda of the day.
Local issues first, last and always. Your voice will be louder than that of councillors’ party colleagues, putting constituents first.
- Like you, we want local government that is transparent, democratic and accountable
- We believe that councils must provide quality public services and value for money to all constituents
- Councils should be socially responsible, protecting the poor and vulnerable and promoting greater equality
- Local taxation should be fair to all, efficient and should reflect the ability to pay
- Local government must encourage local business and local employment
- We believe that local government must be free of junkets, cronyism and corruption
- We believe in cross-party collaborative working wherever possible and appropriate
Your SDP Councillors
- Serving the community is paramount. That may sound obvious, but the word ‘serve’ has lost meaning and in its stead we observe a loyalty to party politics and vanity projects
- Our councillors must rigorously scrutinise decision making across the council
- SDP councillors must practice zero tolerance in respect of corruption
- SDP councillors will provide transparency on their own income and expenditure
Delivering Quality Services & Value for Money
- We believe that council tax must be kept as low as possible, ensuring value for money & service delivery
- We will fiercely defend frontline services and jobs from spending cuts
- We oppose the outsourcing/privatisation of council jobs & services when accountability is prejudiced
- We will ensure that ‘cost saving’ proposals receive rigorous scrutiny
- We will fight to provide proper oversight of council related companies
- Councils should undertake regular audits, policy & performance reviews to demonstrate good governance
Ending Junkets, Cronyism and CORRUPTION
- SDP councillors will champion anti-corruption measures at council level
- SDP demands cuts and limits imposed on unnecessary junkets to faraway destinations
- SDP will oppose crony appointments of ex-politicians into high flying council jobs
- SDP will challenge and whistle blow on elected representatives who employ family members/spouses
- The SDP supports curbs on executive pay in local government
Greater Transparency in Local Government
- SDP demands that council meetings are recorded and made more accessible online for public scrutiny
- Local councils must publish accounts in a clear and user-friendly format
- SDP will support a new Code of Conduct for Councillors to be implemented which allows constituents to remove underperforming elected representatives and include the non-employment of personal friends and family. The current code is nothing more than an advisory guide with no method of enforcement.
You can Expect…
Council wards have widely varying needs and SDP accounts for that with the central ‘no whip’ policy. When voting SDP, you can be assured that your councillor champions:
- More house building generally, social & affordable housing in particular
- High visibility policing
- Common sense measures to tackle anti-social behaviour
- Weekly bin collection and cyclical kerbside waste collection for bulk items
- Promotion of youth facilities
- Adequate funding for Breakfast and Afterschool Clubs
- Meaningful support of SEN schools and resources
- Clean and resourced parks & green spaces
- Projects which focus on protection of the environment
- Greater enforcement to address dog fouling
- The re-opening of disused local authority buildings to homeless people
- Integrated, sensibly planned and subsidised public transport
- Well maintained roads with urgent action taken on potholes
- Local procurement
- Creation of local dog agility parks and trails
Many of the radically sensible, fundamental reforms we seek for Local Government (England) can only be granted by MPs at Westminster. Outwith England, in other parts of the United Kingdom, some of these reforms have already been adopted and work well to improve fairness, value for money and accountability. Challenging MPs at Westminster, SDP seeks radical reform on a number of key issues that materially affect Local Government. These include:
- A full National Review of Council Tax, bringing an end to our current “deliberately” regressive and unfair system. Instead we must move towards a fair, progressive and efficient system based on the ability to pay. The calculation of tax based on decades old property valuations is not on, and we must stand up for low income households caught up in arrears and spiralling debt
- Create Unitary Authorities & end two-tier County & District local government in line with the rest of the UK
- Adopt proportional representation (STV) voting for council elections. In one sweep that will:
- Deliver councils that better reflect & represent the views of the electorate.
- End one-party domination of councils which often leads to waste and corruption.
- Provide stronger accountability, scrutiny and better value for money.
- End the appointment of Police & Crime Commissioners because:
- They have done nothing to curb the 14% year-on-year increase in crime despite costing the taxpayer up to £100,000 each, annually. No thanks!
- We’d rather see ‘bobbies on the beat’ thanks!
- Review the proposers/assenters procedure for nomination papers which discourages small parties & independents from standing. The current requirements (abandoned elsewhere in the UK) often result in uncontested seats and limited choice. Democracy depends on people having a choice. Anything less makes a mockery of democracy.
- For all elections SDP champions mandatory public hustings held in public buildings, streamed live online and open to all candidates. That’s just radically sensible. As it stands, knowing the candidates behind the rosettes isn’t easy; finding a hustings is almost as challenging as making time to attend one! When politics is for the many, we seek cross-party support on this issue enabling you, the elector to take back control.