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TORIES HIGHLIGHT LIBERAL DEMOCRAT FAILURE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

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On visits across the country, Conservatives have attacked the record of the Liberal Democrats in local government....
On visits across the country, Conservatives have attacked the record of the Liberal Democrats in local government.

Speaking during a visit to Cheltenham, and launching the campaign against Liberal Democrat failure in local government, shadow local government minister Tim Yeo said:

`Paddy Ashdown says he is proud of the Liberal Democrat record in local government.

'So I have some questions for Mr Ashdown.

'How can the Liberals be proud of council taxes which are, on average, nearly 100 higher than those set by Conservatives for a typical band D household? Or which are a staggering 273 higher in London?

'How can they be proud of their record of collusion with Labour across the country, voting for higher council taxes and worse services?

'How can the Liberals be proud of their civil war in Gosport? The criticisms from the district auditor in Richmond? The thousands spent on trips abroad in the Isle of Wight?

'And here in Cheltenham, how can the Liberal Democrats be proud of the thousands of pounds spent on their noddy train, or wasted on the poorly planned park and ride?

'When in opposition, the Liberal Democrats are world experts at pious rhetoric. But this is the reality of their record in office. When it comes to failure in local government, the Liberal Democrats are just as bad as Labour'.

Speaking during a visit to the Isle of Wight, shadow health and social services minister Patrick Nicholls said:

`The Liberal Democrats on the Isle of Wight have a great deal to answer for.

'While the Liberals fritter away taxpayers' money by organising trips abroad; while thousands are spent in compensation for misguided planning schemes; while a 'revolving door' policy on staff appointments wastes yet more money, the council tax for local residents rises year by year by year.

'The Liberal Democrats have failed the Isle of Wight and they have done so badly.'

Speaking in Liberal Democrat controlled Richmond upon Thames, Conservative London campaign chief Richard Ottaway said:

`Residents in Richmond can see the contrast between Conservative and Liberals only too clearly.

'Residents on the Wandsworth side of the Upper Richmond Road pay just 319 in band D council tax - while on the Richmond side the figure is 762.

'That gap - 443 - is the price for living under the Liberals. Here there are 43 Liberals and only 5 Conservatives.

'With even the district auditor criticising the Liberal council's financial position, it's now time for a change in Liberal Richmond'.

Campaigning in Gosport, party vice chairman Christopher Chope said:

`In Gosport, the Liberal Democrats are in open civil war. Many are not even on speaking terms. With their councillors reduced to a shambles like this, how on earth can hope to represent residents properly?

'Neither of the Liberal Democrat factions on Gosport has anything to offer local residents except more internal feuding. The Gosport Liberals should be left alone to fight each other. For high quality, good valueservices, Gosport needs the Conservatives.

'Indeed, there is fresh evidence that Liberal feuding is now spreading along the south coast. Last Thursday's Bournemouth Evening Echo reports Cllr Lillian Jefferis as having left the Liberal Democrat group on Christchurch and joined the Conservatives. In doing so she described her former Liberal Democrat colleagues as 'dominated by jealousies and petty rivalries' and 'totally unbusinesslike''.

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