At the House Meetings which I hold month by month and street by street, people have four dominant concerns.
First, the crisis in local hospitals. Dirty wards, serious complaints ignored, two consultants suspended and longer delays for appointments. These problems are not the fault of our dedicated doctors and nurses. They have been demoralised by political pressure to do cheap, quick and minor operations ahead of urgent, serious and complex operations. We must restore their morale by letting health professionals set priorities on the basis of health needs not political targets.
Second, the threat to local schools if Labour cut funding for Hertfordshire to redirect it to their heartlands. I will fight to retain our share of national funding to reflect the higher local costs.
Third, Prescott?s plan to build 10,000 houses between Hitchin & Harpenden. I want to see affordable houses built in towns rather than expensive homes destroying the beautiful green belt land.
Fourth, there is more violent crime yet fewer police than under the Conservatives. I will fight to restore local police strength.
This Labour government has raised taxes by more than any previous peace time government. But it has failed to deliver on health or education because the bulk money has gone on social security. We have identified sensible savings in the DSS, fraud and bureaucracy. So we can match Labour?s spending plans on health and education while reducing taxes on families, savers and petrol. Most European countries are reforming welfare enabling them to cut taxes while improving core services. We can too!