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Delivering for Bournemouth

Bournemouth Liberal Democrat

Manifesto

for the 2011 Local Elections

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.


esident, Dear Bournemouth R onomic times of a ec st he ug to e th ce fa As a nation we ficit means a de al on ti na le ab pt ce generation. The unac rnment coming ve go l ra nt ce om fr t r gran substantially smalle cillors in May will un co w ne he T . ar ye our to Bournemouth next improved services to r ve li de to g in nd fu have 28% less ises or unrealistic om pr k ic sl r fo e m ti a town. So, this is not pledges. l not use this as a il w ts ra oc em D al er ib However, your local L r Bournemouth. Nor fo on ti ra pi as or on si reason to abandon vi se not to address cu ex an as t ci fi de l ia will we use the financ n. The council, after w to r ou ng ci fa s m le the issues and prob edented challenge, ec pr un an ce fa l il w nts, the May 2011 election nsulting with reside co y B s. es dr ad to ht that we have soug feel we must focus on e w , es at id nd ca d an councillors ensuring: es that concentrates nc na fi l ci un co of l Tighter contro reduces spending on d an es ic rv se of n io spending on the provis reaucracy. administration or bu private business, the h it w ng ki or w p hi rs Better partne groups to maximise y it un m m co l ca lo d voluntary sector an ensure delivery to x) ta l ci un co ng si crea resources (without in services. of high quality public

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council

Closer working with residents to restore the confidence in local government in B ournemouth that has suffered under the Conservative adm inistration. Liberal Democrat ru n Bournemouth counci ls from 1990-99 and 2003-07 proved strong in these areas. We believe our approach is better po sitioned to succeed th an the current Conservative run coun cil, which we see as bo th overcommanding and date d. Bournemouth council has not exactly covere d itself in glory over the last fo ur years, leaving the town with many issues to address. It is time for change an d we believe this Manifesto, and ou r strong group of Lib eral Democrat candidates from all w alks of life, have wha t it takes to work with you – delivering a better Bournemouth . Yours sincerely, Cllr Claire Smith, Leader , Liberal Dem ocrat Group Bournemouth Borough Council Mr Douglas Eyre, President , Bournemouth Liberal Democrats, January 2011

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Improving the way we run Bournemouth The present Conservative council was elected with a big majority in May 2007. It has not lived up to its promises, and there are serious concerns as to the way in which the council has performed.

Putting people before politics When you think about our current local council, so much seems to be about the Conservative administration and not about Bournemouth. The party politicking over the various Councillors accused of ‘bringing the council into disrepute’ has been seen as arrogant and caused negative publicity for our town in the national media. The local Conservatives have managed control of key positions on council panels and boards ruthlessly. In contrast, a Liberal Democrat council will look to: 1) Appoint scrutiny/panel chairs and members on the basis of ‘best for the job’ rather than their political party. 2) Revise the way the Code of Ethics for Councillors is implemented to reinforce the independence and authority of the Standards Board in order to avoid a repeat of the controversial handling of issues over recent years. 3) Working with all elected representatives, regardless of their politics, to achieve more. A Liberal Democrat council will seek: 1) Genuine partnerships with businesses that can bring both external finance and greater expertise to the table, when looking at retail and leisure

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council development. 2) Closer working with Poole council recognizing that, whilst there are important issues of civic interest and pride in our two towns, this is not a reason for council taxpayers to be paying more for services than necessary. 3) To encourage more voluntary sector involvement in the delivery of caring services. To see the success of charities & social enterprises as a positive way forward in service provision and not a funding problem in themselves.

A council in touch with local community The local Conservatives talk of consultation, but they have failed to build strong community links and as a result recent consultations (such as on the Imax and the Town Centre Plan) have had little influence on outcome. Local residents have told us there has been a lack of information from the council and the lacklustre bi-centenary celebrations indicate a poor relationship with the local community. A Liberal Democrat council would: 1) Promote vibrant and involved local communities as crucial to engagement with residents and the development of both meaningful and relevant policies. 2) Give far more encouragement, support and funding to residents’ groups and area forums. 3) This improved engagement would allow far greater information and transparency for residents, which is turn will promote healthier and more inclusive public debate.




Improving the way we spend tax payers’ money The next four years are going to be difficult financially not only for the council, but for all council Tax payers too – so your local councillors have to minimize the costs to you. The current Conservative council claim to have been efficient in delivering cost cutting measures, but the evidence suggests otherwise. For example: 1) Closing Townsend School was strongly opposed by Liberal Democrat Councillors on community and financial grounds. Now three years on from closure, the council is reckoning on spending £13million to provide extra Stage 1 places in other schools. 2) £1.7million has been spent on the Town Centre Vision project with nothing to show for it. 3) Since taking office the Conservative council has increased the bill for Councillors allowances by 46% to £800,000 last year. There are now an additional 120 staff, with 118 staff paid more than £50,000 per year. This is twice the number than when they came to power. 4) Despite the number of top Directors being increased, council leaders claimed they were not aware of a freelance transport consultant earning £200,000 a year! 5) The Imax building was bought for a budgeted £7,500,000. Good for a few popular headlines in the Echo, but what next? And how will the Conservatives ensure that the surf reef is completed successfully? These examples do not add up to efficiency, and ignored the national political picture that showed cutbacks were on their way.

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council A Liberal Democrat council would approach council finances differently, we will: 1) Reduce the number of Councillors by up to onethird and review number of Directors. 2) Work more closely with Poole, other Councils and public sector bodies, to merge service delivery and save costs. 3)Look into the re-opening of Townsend School as part of programme to provide extra places. 4) Take a rigorous approach to reduce bureaucracy and all expenditure that is not directed at better customer service. 5) Review the way caring services are delivered by engaging more with the voluntary sector and encouraging stronger civil society. 6) Look to the private sector to provide the investment to build new attractions. Council tax payers should not be paying for this. 7) Working in partnership, take a more innovative approach to reducing running costs, such as installation of power panels on council buildings. Managing council finances will not be easy. There are no quick fixes but Liberal Democrats will, as previously, look to a ‘good housekeeping’ approach, which (in spite of complex local government finances) is transparent, understandable and accountable to council tax payers.

There is a better way to run council finances




Delivering a better future for jobs and business In the current economic climate it is essential that Bournemouth council does all it can to encourage business and employment. The town competes not just nationally, but in a global market. Since taking over in 2007 the local Conservatives have talked at length about attracting investment but there is little to show for it. The sight of a crane in the Town still probably leads to yet another block of flats. A Town Centre Vision sounds good but, so far, the council seems to be giving away car park land with little partnership from other Town Centre landowners. Meanwhile ‘To-Let’ signs abound in commercial premises around the town. There is an urgent need to convert grand speeches into action. A Liberal Democrat council would look to a more dynamic, proactive approach by: 1) Working to persuade neighbouring councils of the need to market the whole area of South East Dorset as one. By combining money spent on economic development activity, the conurbation can achieve more to attract investment as a centre for financial services, tourism, marine industries, airport industries and education. 2) Ensuring a family friendly environment in Bournemouth for residents, visitors and delegates. There is an urgent need for proactive partnership with leisure operators to reverse the decline in theatre and music provision. 3) Working closely with the financial services companies to ensure jobs are retained in Bournemouth and other employers are attracted to the area to take advantage of our strong financial skills base.

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council 4) Doing more to build on the work by Bournemouth Universities to encourage talented young graduates in the creative industries to set up business, and support those who have already done so. We also need to work to ensure that our area is established as regional leader in the worldwide creative sector. 5) Looking for opportunities to support the growth of the English language schools that do much to support Bournemouth’s economy. This is particularly important in context of the debate on international visas and how new rules might apply. 6) Good shopping in the Town Centre is important and must be encouraged. However, we want to develop clear plans for the local shopping centres in Boscombe, Kinson, Moordown, Southbourne, Westbourne and Winton. A more innovative planning approach to empty shops may be needed. 7) Continuing to develop the council’s apprenticeship schemes and encourage the roll out of this with other employers. We hope the world is in economic recovery. However, in this time of austerity, Bournemouth council must ensure our youngsters employment prospects are protected enhanced in the years ahead.

There is a more dynamic and proactive way of encouraging the success of growth of the local economy

Making Bournemouth a good place to grow up




As a unitary council, Bournemouth has a key role in providing services and care for our young people. It is essential that these services do not suffer in the face of financial stringency. Good schools and youth services must aim to develop maximum opportunity to all. For ‘looked after’ children where the council becomes for, whatever reason, the ‘corporate parent’, it is especially important to deliver the highest possible standard of care. The council must also work with community partners to prevent and deal with anti social behaviour. The benefits of getting it right and the costs of getting it wrong, fall not only on the young people themselves but on society as a whole, socially and economically. Liberal Democrats have always tried to involve and work with all political groups and partners to achieve a productive consensus to deal with the issues facing children and young people. Changes in the national policy such as the creation of ‘free schools’ may reduce the direct influence of local authorities in some areas. Others, around health services, could result in extra responsibility. The council needs to be flexible and open to new ways of working as the new agenda develops in addition to continuing to campaign to provide services fair to all, regardless of background. A Liberal Democrat council will work to provide: 1) High quality schools • Locally based schooling, which we support for educational, environmental and social reasons. We will look to use the new pupil premium to help invest where the ‘local school’ doesn’t seem attractive. • The short termism of the local Conservative decision to close Townsend School must not be allowed to happen again. A Liberal Democrat council will revisit this option as a possibility in looking at how to tackle the shortage of Stage 1 places. • Real consultation will be vital in school decision-

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council making and we will seek to ensure schoolteachers minimize bureaucracy. • A real partnership with the commercial and voluntary sectors to ensure high quality, affordable early years provision. • Work with neighbourhoods to ensure that school catchments are not restrained by local authority boundaries. 2) Good Youth Services for all • Planning for more purpose built council youth clubs does not seem a sensible option. We will look to maximize youth service resources through outreach and providing support to the large number of third sector groups who work with young people. • Better focus of the Urbie Youth Van (introduced by the previous Liberal Democrat council) on problem areas. • Even stronger partnership with police, the courts, Job Centre Plus, schools and voluntary agencies to identify problems early in order to have a determined, joint approach to dealing with anti social behaviour. • High priority and support to Bournemouth 2026 partnership initiatives which concentrate on reduction of teenage pregnancies as well as alcohol and drug abuse. • Strong support also for Surestart projects. Identify difficulties and help overcome them. • Reintroduce the Sports Development Team (scrapped by the present council) and establish ongoing dialogue with voluntary organizations in sport and the arts to find new innovative ways of ensuring opportunities for our young people.

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• Investigate ways of allowing greater use of school playing fields outside school hours. 3) Job Opportunities • In a difficult climate, high priority to reducing numbers of NEET youngsters (not in education, employment or training) by working closely with Job Centre Plus and school career heads. • Expand the successful council apprenticeship schemes and encourage private businesses to get involved. 4)Better Prospects for ‘Looked after Children’ • Commitments to the 200+ looked after children in the Borough and (given the important and delicate issues surrounding adoption) reduce the numbers by more placements. • Target to reduce the number of looked after children leaving school NEET by 50% in next council. • Increase numbers who go on to University 5) A Healthy Environment for our Universities and Language Schools •There must be a strong relationship between the council, further education and higher education in the Borough. The economic and social benefits are immense, and any positive solutions must be sought where any ‘town & gown’ issues arise. 6) An increased role for children and young people in consultation processes within Bournemouth 2026.

Young people are our future – working together is the key to better future for us all

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council Delivering a better quality of life for all Although not a statutory requirement for councils, the need for leisure facilities has increasingly been recognized as a vital part of building a healthier community. In Bournemouth, there has historically been a link between provision of facilities for residents and those for visitors. The use of arts, entertainment, sports and beach facilities by visitors produces extra revenues that should enable our town to be a leader in these fields. The council has recently set up a Charitable Trust (BH Live) which has taken over the operation of the B.I.C., Pavilion and Littledown, Pelhams and Stokewood Sports Centres. This is designed to provide independent control, a more entrepreneurial approach and potential to attract external funding. In principle this makes sense BUT only if there are clear service levels which the residents can expect. It remains the council’s job to set those levels and agree the price where necessary. Bournemouth has historically been very keen for the council itself to own and control facilities within the town. The Liberal Democrat council in the 1990s attracted substantial investment to the seafront, which would not have been possible under the local Conservative ‘run and control’ policy. The key must be to work with private sector and voluntary groups to ensure that leisure facilities are provided – but not necessarily by the council. The town’s standing as an Arts & Entertainment centre has declined at a disappointingly rapid rate. A look at the programme of concerts and shows compared to 10 years ago, tells the story (several nights in August 2010 saw no live entertainment offered in our theatres). The increasing reference to Bournemouth as a ‘cultural desert’ is perhaps unfair, but the current attitude does not reflect on the historic traditions in the town which bred the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (originally on the council payroll!) and the Pavilion (historically a top pre West End destination).

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A Liberal Democrat council would: 1) Revisit the BH Live business plan to ensure that service levels meet the aspirations of the local community and visitors, and to achieve a plan for Arts & Entertainment which starts to steer Bournemouth back to a position where it is seen as a leading destination for entertainment. 2) Work with BH Live and all local sports clubs to develop a better understanding of what can be achieved in adding value by joint working between the council sports centres, AFC Bournemouth and voluntary sports organizations. 3) Form much stronger links with voluntary arts groups. Again, there is much good work going on which could be helped and enhanced by greater working together. Continue to support and develop the work of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, particularly their work with schools and vulnerable adults. 4) Ensure that the increasing squeeze on budgets does not diminish the service provided by the libraries or the Russell Cotes Museum. Look at alternative ways of enhancing funding other than by the reintroduction of admission charges, where possible. 5) Promote sports and arts in the communities, in addition to introducing 24-hour booking priority for Bournemouth residents for all sports and entertainment venues under the control of BH Live. 6) Protect and promote use of the Councils parks, gardens, seafront and other public spaces. These are the town’s jewels in the crown and must be maintained to the highest standards – and NOT just in the Town Centre.

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council Nurturing a caring community Liberal Democrat councils around the country instinctively put better engagement with the communities they represent at the top of their agendas. In Bournemouth, past Liberal Democrat Councils have sought to increase communication and find the current autocratic ‘we always know best’ approach of the local Conservative council a disappointing step backwards. From healthcare for the elderly and vulnerable, through to the need to reduce the perceived risks from crime and disorder to the involvement of residents in decisions affecting their day to day lives, there is a clear need for partnership working at every level. A Liberal Democrat council work to provide: 1) Care for our older people •Over 32% of our households are pensioner only, and two thirds live on their own. Liberal Democrats are dedicated to work with our older people to develop accessible support which is less bureaucratic. We value their expertise and will include them in decision making about their future. •We will ask them to use their local knowledge to develop mutual support neighbourhood networks which they will lead. •Many older people are volunteers and work within the voluntary sector. Liberal Democrats are great supporters of the voluntary sector and will encourage this to grow. •Many older people are carers and we will work to improve the availability to respite care for their loved ones. •Liberal Democrat Councillor, Pat Lewis, the councils’

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older persons champion will continue to speak out and encourage the Age Friendly Strategy. •Close working with the Health Authorities and voluntary groups will be essential as the Government’s reallocation of care responsibilities is introduced. 2)Proper care for our vulnerable adults •We support the joining up of health & social care and will assist this long awaited change by using our expertise to achieve this aim. Changes in the way funding is now allocated to Councils will need constant diligence on our part to ensure that our vulnerable adults are supported. We will work hard to ensure that carers and the people requiring care have the freedom to make their own choices with real control over their lives. We will make every effort to ensure that mental health is put on equal footing with physical health. Liberal Democrats support radical action to improve the quality and the way health care is delivered. 3) A safe town Higher visibility community policing must be the key to reducing the perceived danger from crime. In partnership with the Police we would look to develop a ‘rapid response’ service to residents for report of disturbance in neighbourhoods. Cuts in the Environmental budget by the local Conservatives have reduced the capacity for the council to respond to noise disturbance. Closer working by a Liberal Democrat council with all partners - schools/social services/housing/voluntary agencies and area forums, to share information and

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council improve intelligence. This in turn will identify issues faster and more effectively. Continued partnership working will seek to reduce drug and alcohol abuse, and the problems that it causes. A Liberal Democrat council will call for proper policing levels for the Town, and welcome involvement of language schools, minority ethnic groups and other marginalised groups to ensure that Bournemouth can enjoy the benefits of a multi cultural society. 4) Community Involvement Area forums and resident groups need to be both strengthened and supported, which the current Conservative administration has failed to do. The whole of Bournemouth should benefit from active and representative residents groups. Improving local communities should heart of all decision making in all areas of the council’s operation. Consultation will be open, transparent and representative. Too often, consultation questions seem to be framed to provide the ‘right answer’. Further council community ‘one stop shops’ such as the Kinson Hub, to be pursued in partnership with the voluntary sector, to improve local engagement and community interest.

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Improving transport in Bournemouth Traffic congestion, exacerbated by ad hoc road working makes Bournemouth a frustratingly difficult town to move around, especially during rush hour. Radical solutions in larger UK cities tell us that it does not have to be like this. Liberal Democrats are committed to developing an environmentally sustainable transport policy in the face of traffic grid lock and rising oil prices. Car parking policy still seems to be driven more by cash revenue for the council than transport considerations. A Liberal Democrat council will: •Stop further unnecessary road humps Residents parking schemes to be extended to ease congestion in areas such as Westbourne and prioritise the needs of residents in the peak tourist season. •The scheduling of road works to be examined as a priority. Too often newly laid road surfaces are opened by other public utilities and the timing of road works should, where possible, be more customer friendly. •Propose a 20 mph speed limit for non-major roads in the town to improve road safety for all. •New major road schemes within the town will be resisted unless they are able to contribute to an improved public transport infrastructure. •The need for additional bus routes will be closely monitored. Greater use of public transport is the key to reduced congestion and investment in this area is thus high priority. •Improve the provision of cycle routes and promote cycling across the town. •Planning policies to encourage the provision of

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council essential services (e.g. shops and medical facilities) within walking distance of where people live. •The dangerous Richmond Hill/Wessex Way junction to be made safer by a new scheme to re-prioritise traffic. •Encourage police to adopt high profile campaign to prosecute dangerous drivers (such as those using their mobile phones whilst driving and ‘boys racers’) whilst raising awareness of the dangers of problem drivers. •The Strategic Transport Plan needs to put forward a more radical vision for transport for the conurbation as a whole, in line with those now being implemented by major UK cities. For example, this could include the re-introduction of modern electric trolley buses (as we have successfully seen in the West Midlands), by working in partnerships with other councils, transport companies and residents groups amongst others.

Action is need now to avoid traffic gridlock in the future

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Protecting and enhancing Bournemouth ‘It’s not the place it used to be!’ is a familiar cry in Bournemouth. Change is inevitable but that does not mean that the character of our town should disappear as if nothing can be done about it. Bournemouth council has a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to planning applications (not only controversial but often costly) unlike a Liberal Democrat council who would take a proactive approach. Housing policy has provided numerous blocks of flats but leaves young people with little hope of getting on the housing ladder or accessing suitable family homes. In planning for a sustainable future for Bournemouth, the council must consider environmental issues throughout the decision making process. Previous Liberal Democrat Councils have pioneered green policies for Bournemouth, and a new Liberal Democrat council would be committed to continue this work. Bournemouth has become a top performing recycling town as a result of the ‘Big bin – Little bin’ scheme introduced by the Liberal Democrats in September 2006. A Liberal Democrat council will address the following key policy areas: 1) Planning •Get more residents more involved in the planning process, by asking them to help shape the future of the town through better engagement, events and vastly improving the consultation process. •Reinstate ‘planning in the patch’ so that on major planning applications residents can more easily present their views and influence decision-making. •Take the opportunities now available from the Coalition Government and initiate new local planning policies, which in turn will improve our town’s character and enhance residents’ quality of life. •Protect our greenbelt and public spaces (including parks and gardens) throughout the town. The various

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council proposals for extension of amenities in Kings Park need careful consideration to avoid spoiling this public space. •Safeguard every area in Bournemouth from inappropriate and unsustainable over-development. •Enhance the distinctiveness of local areas to create civic pride and thriving communities. •Review current retail/hotel zones policies to continue to protect core areas, whilst allowing quality residential development or changes of use in areas where the market has moved on. •Improve the conservation of historic areas of Bournemouth. •Tackle pockets of neglect or deprivation through imaginative housing and commercial regeneration. 2) Housing •Protect family housing from indiscriminate flat block redevelopment or uncontrolled conversion to houses in multiple occupation. •Promote improved quality and well-designed housing development. •Encourage affordable to meet local needs rather than luxury flats for second home owners. •Work harder to encourage use of unoccupied or abandoned homes, particularly above shops, and promote the work of the Empty Home Strategy (to see vacant properties brought back into use). •Review all existing local and regional developer contribution policies (Section 106 monies) to ensure that they continue to work and support local needs, whilst not stifling development. Generally consider more carefully the ability of infrastructures and amenities to service new developments.

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3) Waste •Work to remove all methane material from landfill and to this end look in future to a separate weekly collection of food waste which would lead to production of methane-generated power. •Combine with neighbouring councils for more cost effective processing of household and commercial waste. 4) Climate Change •Continue to monitor and undertake work to ensure protection of coastal environmental following the successful Liberal Democrat ‘beach raising’ project. •Tree planting scheme to contribute to national CO2 reduction targets. •Work closely with the Environment Agency to protect property in the Stour Valley from flooding. 5) Energy •As traditional fossil fuels (such as coal) become less sustainable and more expensive, it is the responsibility for all councils to explore alternative sources of energy. As a town, we are extremely fortunate to potentially have access to energy from both waste and offshore wind. A Liberal Democrat council will, in principle, support such proposals as the way forward. •Work in partnership with other agencies to continue to support the Earth Charter. •The council’s housing will receive improved insulation to minimise home energy use, which in turn will reduce the impacts of rising fuels costs for council tenants. •Council owned buildings will maximise free natural energy by installing solar panels to feed back into

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There is a better way to run Bournemouth Council the grid. 6) Local Action •Work with citizens, schools and community groups such as Bournemouth Transition Town to encourage residents to play a direct part in improving the environment of their neighbourhoods. 7) Cleaning •Although the local Conservative council claims to have set aside further money for street cleaning, residents in outlying areas of town do not seem to have seen improvements. We would seek to reverse the cuts in street cleaning teams imposed by the local Conservatives recently and ensure street cleaning teams are locally accountable. In Bournemouth we have inherited an attractive environment BUT we must work to sustain and improve it.

Bournemouth Liberal Democrats, Manifesto 2011 Towards a better Bournemouth Published and Promoted by M Broad on behalf of Bournemouth Liberal Democrats all at Flat One, 85 Alumhurst Road, Bournemouth BH4 8HR

Delivering for Bournemouth

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UPGRADE OUR POLITICS ON MAY 5TH Fed up with our “past its’ best” voting system, and the politics we get? With Alternative Vote (AV) you’ll get: HARDER WORKING MPs With a fairer vote system MPs will need to win 50% of votes in their constituency. At the moment MPs often get less than half of people actually supporting them. With a new system they will need to work harder to get more support. EVERY VOTE REALLY COUNTS Fair votes means an end to tactical voting. Instead you actually vote for what you want. It’s simple: list the candidates in the order you like them: 1, 2, 3 etc. Your vote is never wasted. We have a historic opportunity on May 5th to make politicians work for us, by saying YES to fair votes.

LET’S ALL SAY “YES” TO FAIRER VOTES ON MAY 5TH Find out more and how to help: www.yestofairervotes.org

Bournemouth Liberal Democrats Manifesto - 2011  

The 2011 Manifesto for Bournemouth Liberal Democrats.

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