Sunday, 3 December 2006

Cambridge, Congestion Charging and Public Services

It was good to be back in my student haunts of Cambridge today and meet local association members. They are a very positive thinking bunch - despite not having a Conservative MP since 1992. We had a long discussion about the A list and there was strong support for the need to have more female Conservative MPs but not for a "Blair's babes" approach.

In my opinion many of Cameron's "new" style focuses are rooted in old Conservative values. It is right to worry about work-life balance since Conservatives have always believed in supporting families and that children need time with their parents. It is right to discuss global warming - Conservatives always have believed in caring for their local environment, but if we are to protect our local environment for the future we must try to protect the planet. Having said that there is a lot of anxiety in Cambridge about congestion charging, none of my friends from outside Cambridge City ever face the City traffic unless they really have to. Public transport does need to be improved - a concern is that the money from charging will not go towards those improvements. Cambridge is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, with thousands of new homes planned. It is also a major driver of the Eastern region economy. The Conservative County council have started work on the guided bus but that is still a while from being a reality.

Baroness Perry gave us an excellent summary of the work that she has been undertaking with the public services commission. Their interim report is HERE It is good to hear that so many senior professionals in the health and education are engaging in the debate with the Conservative party about the future of our services.

1 comment:

Sean said...

Congestion charging is a con. Not only is it an inefficient method of generating revenue, people in Cambridge already face a strong incentive to avoid rush-hour traffic. It seems that it is really just a front for increased surveillance. The global warming aspect is equally a buzz-word used to increase the acceptance of such a scheme - transport is already expensive, but taxing holidays would be a more effective way of reducing CO2 emissions.