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FOWLER CALLS FOR CHANGE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

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Speaking at the launch of the Conservative Partys 1998 local elections campaign, Sir Norman Fowler, shadow secretar...
Speaking at the launch of the Conservative Partys 1998 local elections campaign, Sir Norman Fowler, shadow secretary of state for the environment, transport and the regions, said:

'Last May, Labour said it was time for a change.

'But one year on, nowhere in Britain is the need for change more urgent than in local government.

'Tony Blair has admitted as much. To use his words: 'There are just too many councils failing to deliver acceptable standards of service to their citizens'. He is right - and the failing councils are controlled by his Party.

'Voters now have the opportunity to put an end to Labour failure, and to change local government for the better.

'For too long, Labour have dominated councils across the country. For too long they have provided high Council Taxes and shoddy services. For too long residents have had to put up with second best in their town halls.

'Its now time to change all that.

'Its time to change from the Party which has set every one of the highest 20 council taxes in this country. From the Party which costs band D households in London an average 300 more in Council Tax.

'Its time to change from the Party which takes longer on average to pay benefits to the needy or to provide social services equipment, and which has the highest proportion of empty homes and the worst exam results.

'And its time to change from the Liberal Democrats, who prop up Labour councils across the country and who vote with Labour for higher council tax. The Liberal Democrats will never stand up to Labour dominance. They will not provide the check on Labour power which is urgently needed.

'Over the last 12 months, the Conservative Party has accepted the need for change ourselves. We have changed our organisation and we are renewing our policies.

'Now we offer change to local communities across the country. Our councillors and council candidates believe in real community politics. Conservatives will serve local communities well; listen to what they have to say; deliver low taxes and quality services; and oppose new layers of regional bureaucracy which will remove power from the local level.

'Only the Conservative Party offers local communities a fresh future.

In town halls across Britain, its time for a change to the Conservatives'.

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