April 15, 2014 1.00 pm This story is over 91 months old

Why can’t local politicians work together?

Difficult choices: County Councillor Marc Jones ponders why councillors can’t work together better for their communities.

I have long held the view that the vast majority of people who become local councillors do so because they care about the community they live in.

Which is why I’m constantly amazed by the stunts and objections raised every time proposals are put forward to balance budgets, or reform services, regardless of the common sense of the plans.

Of course, there will be differences in the approaches by political groups on how challenges should be faced, but it is surely in everyone’s interests to work together to make the strongest decisions for Lincoln and Lincolnshire, ultimately delivering the most positive outcomes.

Lincolnshire County Council has to find additional savings of some £90 million from its budget. No easy task after already managing the loss of circa £150 million.

When the library review took place, it was not in isolation but rather as part of a much wider look at all services and how they can best be delivered for the future, and, within budget.

When a solution was found that delivered savings in the order of £1.7 million a year, potentially kept all current libraries open, and opened seven new ones with the likelihood of longer opening hours and wider community use also being incorporated, it seemed like a great way forward.

It’s so disappointing to see some (not all) opposition members claiming, against the facts, that 30 libraries are to close and that all is doom and gloom rather than see them all working for the betterment of our communities as a whole.

We see today a Shadow Minister capitalising on scaremongering when the truth is that councils of various political colours are going through a similar process. To make out that this is some political conspiracy is ridiculous.

Councillors should be working together to find solutions, or at the very least coming up with alternatives to those solutions on the table. It’s so easy to be constantly negative and never add any value for residents.

The question is, do you cut road repairs, adult social care, or children’s safeguarding perhaps, instead of putting in place an innovative solution that could not only give Lincolnshire seven new libraries, but protect all of the others for the future as well?

Some people clearly think so, but I would rather they did the job they were elected to do, and work to find solutions rather than problems.

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Marc Jones is a Conservative County Councillor and Executive Member for Finance and Property.