Partners battle for supremacy

LABOUR and the Liberal Democrats, who have jointly controlled Suffolk County Council for the past 12 years, have launched separate election manifestos.

By Graham Dines

LABOUR and the Liberal Democrats, who have jointly controlled Suffolk County Council for the past 12 years, have launched separate election manifestos.

The parties go head-to-head in all but a handful of rural divisions, but this decision not to fight the elections as a coalition could allow the Conservatives to gain enough seats to grab control of the council.

Launching Labour's manifesto, council leader Bryony Rudkin said: "We have been working hard to improve services in Suffolk since we came to power in 1993 and we are very proud that Suffolk County Council is now officially recognised as an 'excellent' council by the Audit Commission."

Among the key pledges outlined in Labour's manifesto are: continued improvements to services and delivering extra investment; support for vulnerable and older people; support for delivering a 'greener' Suffolk; upgrading transport in Suffolk; improving access to libraries; and support for the university project.

Peter Monk, Liberal Democrat leader, said his party's manifesto was "a record of our achievements and an action plan for the future".

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He added: "Since 1993, Liberal Democrats have made a real difference for the people of Suffolk.

"We are proud to have been rated 'excellent' by the Audit Commission, but much more than any inspection or assessment we are proud of the tangible benefits our administration have bought to Suffolk."

The county council's Liberal Democrats group said it supported the party's national campaign to abolish council tax and replace it with local income tax."

Mr Monk added: "Suffolk has an excellent record on education. Our pupils get the best GCSE results in East Anglia and we now provide more free nursery places than ever.

"Looking to the future, we pledge to do whatever the county council can to make a university for Suffolk a reality and will campaign with Liberal Democrats nationally to abolish tuition fees, so university is affordable to all. "We know that from talking to Suffolk residents pupil behaviour is a concern and we pledge to provide more funding to tackle this."

Polling day is May 5, the same as the General Election.

graham.dines@eact.co.uk

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