The results of last week’s elections did not come as a great surprise to me. From a Conservative perspective, our message received a good reception on most doorsteps and we were bemused by the apparent discrepancy with the opinion polls.
All the Lincolnshire parliamentary seats stayed in existing political hands as indeed have the district councils.
As Conservatives, we need to work more effectively together for the interests of our county.
We welcome our two new MPs, Matt Warman and Victoria Atkins, and look forward to working with them for the next 5 years. I was also particularly pleased that Karl McCartney retained his seat as he has been an effective advocate for Lincoln and very prepared to stand up for his constituency in Westminster.
The electorate have decisively accepted the principle of eliminating the budget deficit within this parliament and we can assume that this will feature in George Osborne’s plans.
And I agree, as we cannot indefinitely continue spending more each year as a nation than we raise in income. Anyone who runs a household, business, or council budget understands this as the alternative is eventual financial disaster.
For local government, including Lincolnshire County Council, this means that we will need to continue our programme of finding substantial savings for the next few years. We can deliver more savings, but the scale currently suggested will be daunting on top of that already achieved.
It would be fairer if other parts of the public sector could shoulder a larger share of the savings required to better match our efforts. In addition, the funding formula is unfair to Lincolnshire as we receive much less than the average or urban areas – in effect a double whammy for us.
Finally, if national government devolved more powers and responsibilities to local areas, we could find savings by being able to work more efficiently with local partners and remove some of the unnecessary barriers and structures that currently exist.
Martin Hill OBE is the Conservative Leader of Lincolnshire County Council. A former farmer, Martin was elected to Lincolnshire County Council in 1993, representing Folkingham Rural. He became council leader in 2005 and was later awarded an OBE for services to Lincolnshire. Martin lives in a former pub at Kirby Underwood with wife Janice and their irrepressible Patterdale Terrier, Boris.