Devon Liberal Democrats have identified the six key areas to get Devon back on its feet following the Covid-19 pandemic if they were to come to power at County Hall. The Party say they will fix potholes, back jobs, bring care services under control, listen to locals, invest in children, and create green jobs if they take control of Devon County Council after May’s local elections.
LIB DEM MANIFESTO
Devon Liberal Democrats have identified the six key areas to get Devon back on its feet following the Covid-19 pandemic if they were to come to power at County Hall.
The Party say they will fix potholes, back jobs, bring care services under control, listen to locals, invest in children, and create green jobs if they take control of Devon County Council after May’s local elections.
They are fielding 55 candidates in the elections out of the 60 available seats as they aim to increase their presence of the council from the existing six councillors.
Cllr Alan Connett, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Devon County Council, said: “I am delighted that the Liberal Democrats are fielding such a strong group of candidates for the local elections across Devon.
“Devon has been let down by years of Conservative inaction at County Hall, leaving our children’s service branded as ‘inadequate’ by OFSTED and our roads unfixed.
“Voting Lib Dem on 6th May means that local communities will get their voice heard. No more ‘County Hall knows best’.”
The six priorities that they will focus on to get Devon back on its feet are:
Fix the potholes, unblock the drains, bring back regular maintenance.
Back jobs with a ‘Made in Devon’ campaign promoting buying from local businesses, traders and craftspeople.
Bring care services back under council control and open new council-run care homes.
Listen to local residents and communities. No more ‘County Hall knows best’.
Launch ‘Green Devon’ – create green jobs, invest in making Devon carbon neutral and protect our beautiful environment.
Invest in our children – fix our failing Children’s Services, support young people’s mental health services and campaign for fair funding for Devon’s schools.
Fix the potholes
Lib Dems are pledging to fix the roads with a straightforward three step plan: fix the potholes, unblock drains, bring back regular road maintenance and there will be an extra £3.4 million will be invested this year to boost road repairs by the Liberal Democrats if they take control of County Hall next month.
Cllr Connett said: “The money was pledged for highway drainage works over the past 10 years and simply has not been spent. We are all living with the consequences, potholes, blocked drains, lack of regular maintenance”.
Made in Devon
Liberal Democrats will back jobs with a ‘Made in Devon’ campaign promoting buying from local businesses, traders and craftspeople. Devon’s council owned farms will also be protected under the Liberal Democrats, who say they will keep the 65 farms and not sell them off, as other councils have done elsewhere in the country.
Cllr Connett said: “At a time when we need to support our economy and agricultural sector, we see the farms as a vital part of the county council and a way of helping farmers to progress in the business. We will keep the farms,”
Invest in our children
Inadequate is the judgement on Children’s Services across Devon from independent inspectors, who said: “ Until this inspection, senior leaders did not know about the extent of the failures to protect some of the most vulnerable children and young people from harm. They were unaware that a very small minority of their care leavers were or had been living in tents on the streets. These are not isolated incidents.”
“Some children who have suffered chronic neglect and emotional abuse are being left with their families for too long because social workers and their managers lack clarity about when to turn concerns into legal action. Social workers are not gathering evidence of neglect systematically.”
Cllr Connett said: “Back in 2013, Devon County Council was told its services for vulnerable children were Inadequate and did not meet the minimum requirements. Eight long years later and still County Hall has failed to make the improvements needed.”
“Children deserve better and the buck stops at County Hall. They have no-one to look to but themselves. Other councils have hit the bottom and been able to improve, but Devon limps from one inadequate judgment to another.”
“Our plan is an immediate review of Children’s Services, identify the problems, ensure named people are responsible for leading the improvement and report regularly on what is being done. We shouldn’t be embarrassed about learning from what other councils have done and getting in experts to help us get this right.”
Elections will take place for all 60 seats on Devon County Council on Thursday, May 6, with voters going to the polls to elect their representatives for the next four years.
The entirety of the 60-strong council will be up for re-election, with 56 ‘single-member’ Electoral Divisions and 2 ‘two-member’ Divisions’.
The current composition of the council consists of 41 Conservatives, 7 Labour, 6 Liberal Democrats, 3 Independents, 1 Green Party, 1 East Devon Alliance and 1 North Devon Liberal.
All elected councillors will serve their usual four year term upon their election.
The Conservatives and Labour are the only parties who are fielding the maximum of 60 candidates, with the Liberal Democrats fielding 55.
The Green Party are fielding 45 candidates, with one from UKIP, five from Reform UK, and 20 from the Freedom Alliance, who are standing on a platform of ‘no lockdowns, no curfews’.
The East Devon Alliance have three candidates, the Trade Unionist and Social Coalition have six, while there are 28 Independent candidates.