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Message from Council Leader Martin Hill OBE – 9 June 2017

Cllr Hill reflects on the general election result and on the council’s priorities after its own election last month

Cllr Martin Hill

Council Leader Martin Hill OBE

As the Conservative leader of Lincolnshire County Council, I’m obviously very disappointed by the general election result.

While the Conservatives did win, I’d hoped voters would give Theresa May an increased majority to strengthen her hand in the very difficult Brexit negotiations about to start.

In the event, we ended up with no clear majority, which means uncertainty in the days and weeks ahead as a new Government is formed.

However, that’s the nature of politics – it’s for the people to decide, through the democratic process we’re all so privileged to enjoy.

Here in Lincolnshire, six of the seven county seats are still held by Conservative MPs, providing continuity in this council’s dealings with them on important issues.

The party also greatly increased its share of the vote across the board. In Boston and Skegness, for example, Matt Warman achieved a 19.8% increase on his 2015 figure, while Victoria Atkins in Louth and Horncastle had a 12.8% rise.

The result was different in Lincoln, of course, where Karl McCartney – the city’s Conservative MP since 2010 – narrowly lost to Labour’s Karen Lee.

I’d like to thank Karl for all his hard work over the past seven years, and to offer my congratulations to our new MP as she heads for Westminster.

More generally, I was pleased to see that overall turnout across the country increased to 69% – the highest figure since 1997.

That’s despite talk of “voter fatigue” after so many polls in recent years, as well as the ongoing threat of terrorism in our towns and cities.

In our county, turnout was generally slightly lower than the national average, although Sleaford and North Hykeham recorded an impressive 72.4%.

As well as the general election, voters went to the polls last month to choose their representatives on Lincolnshire County Council for the next four years.

The Conservative-led administration you elected is now hard at work on things that affect all of the county’s 737,000 residents, young and old.

Top of the list is the fight for a fairer funding deal for Lincolnshire, which has received much less financial support from the Government than other areas – particularly metropolitan ones – for far too long.

The council is also committed to transforming the county’s highways network, with the North Hykeham Relief Road a particular priority.

This would form the southern part of a complete city ring road, connecting to the Lincoln Eastern Bypass, which is due to be completed in 2019.

We also want to improve journey times to Skegness on the A158 Lincolnshire Coastal Highway, with a bypass for Horncastle now being considered.

Elsewhere across the county, projects planned or currently underway include the Grantham Southern Relief Road, Go Skegness, the Spalding Western Relief Road and a Boston Distributor Road.

Supporting the health of Lincolnshire residents is also a “must”, and we’ll continue to work to bring NHS and social care services closer together.

In addition, we’ll be pushing for a Lincolnshire Ambulance Service, as well as the creation of a Lincoln University Medical School to train the doctors of the future.

Above all, hospital services across the county must be kept safe and effective, with appropriate 24-hour emergency care in place at all three main sites.

A successful Brexit for Lincolnshire is also essential as the new Government starts the negotiations that will take us out of the EU.

The council will therefore be lobbying for a fair slice of the money we no longer pay to Brussels, protecting farmers and other important sectors of the local economy.

Closer to home, the council plans to ask local people about possible changes to local government in Lincolnshire.

The aim is to move towards a new system with far fewer authorities, leaving more money to spend on services for local people.

In all these areas, we’re totally focused on doing the job you elected us to do, so it’s business as usual in Lincolnshire.

For the sake of the country, let’s hope that’s soon the case at Westminster.

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