Local government services in Crawley are provided under what is known as ‘two-tier’ with two councils, namely West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council. The broader and larger services such as education, adult social care, fire & rescue, children’s services and highways & transport are provided by the County Council. This equates to roughly 80% of our local government services, hence most of our council tax. Local services such as housing, street cleaning and refuse collections are provided by Crawley Borough Council.
If local government was starting again, I doubt we would invent two-tier local government. I suspect that by 2040, all English local government will have become single-tier like in Wales and Scotland. This is something that would make sense and make for much easier understanding of local government, as well as greater efficiency.
Some Labour Councillors in Crawley like to use the complexities of two-tier local government (especially around finance) as cover to peddle their own politics of envy, trying to gloss over their own poor performance at Crawley Borough Council by attacking West Sussex County Council, simply because it is Conservative-run. The last Full Council meeting at Crawley Borough Council was a prime example of this, with Crawley’s failing Labour leadership spending almost the entire meeting talking about matters that are solely County Council business.
Putting it bluntly, what is really going on is that the Leader of the Council also happens to be Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Crawley, so everything is overtly politicised with attacking other Conservative Councils the priority, rather than ensuring the good running of Crawley Borough Council. Labour’s record of failure at the Council includes their appalling financial loss of £1.4 million from the sale of Council Houses that was supposed to be spent on new Crawley housing, as well as a bungled £700,000 IT project that has gone almost £200,000 over budget.
Should Crawley elect a Conservative-run Council next month, our focus won’t be using the Council as a political platform for electoral advancement, but providing high quality and good value services, ensuring we don’t lose huge sums of your money.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
17th April 2019