My speech on the 2016 Basildon Budget

Unfortunately, due to the guillotine being reached, I was unable to deliver my backbench speech on the 2016 Budget for the Borough of Basildon but below is the full text of the speech I would have given:

I cannot say I rise to greet this budget with the same enthusiasm I have previous budgets because – though there are things in here that I welcome (not least the continued investment in Billericay High Street, in my ward) – it does go against the grain for me, as a Conservative, to welcome a rise in the Council Tax.

That said, as I regard this as both necessary and unavoidable, I do congratulate my friend and ward colleague, Councillor Sullivan – Basildon’s own ‘Iron Chancellor’ – on delivering a difficult budget with the deftness of touch we have come to expect from his excellent stewardship of this Borough’s finances.

Now, as I say, no Tory is going to get to his feet and welcome a budget that raises the Council Tax without a degree of reluctance… but I shall be putting my hand up for this Budget – because it is undoubtedly the right thing to do. As a responsible Party of Government, we on these benches have a duty to the people of Basildon to act in their best interests. We have not the luxury of those Opposition parties, who can simply play to the gallery and say whatever is popular. Tories must balance the books. That’s why people elect us.

In fairness, my ward colleague was always going to find his own act a rather hard one to follow. Since becoming Cabinet Member for Resources in 2013, Councillor Sullivan has delivered not one, not two, but three Council Tax freezes. Indeed, his predecessor – whose name I forget – not only delivered a freeze himself the year before but, in 2011, actually delivered a modest cut!

Cllr Stuart Sullivan: Basildon's own 'Iron Chancellor'
Cllr Stuart Sullivan: Basildon’s own ‘Iron Chancellor’

The Conservative Party is the low-tax party. We believe our residents know how to spend the pound in their pocket more wisely than we do and we know that there is simply no such thing as ‘government money’; there is only taxpayers’ money. That is why our Group has always prided itself in keeping the Council Tax low. Councillor Sullivan has always been able to deliver that restraint without having to make savage cuts to services and whilst continuing to make considerable investment across the Borough. He has done that through robust planning and prudent financial management.

In our own Billericay East Ward, we have seen significant investment in our High Street, to the tune of over £300,000. There was £150,000 for the refurbishment of Billericay swimming pool and half-a-million for Hannakins Farm but other areas have also benefitted from my friend’s largesse:

  • Half-a-million for the Community Investment Fund, including Kent View Road in Vange
  • £90K for Markhams Chase Play Centre in Lee Chapel North
  • The £1m rebuild of the Triangle shops in Langdon Hills
  • Not to mention £500K for community halls
  • £75K for estate clean ups
  • and the £20K put aside for our World War One commemorations.

This investment is made possible by the economic competence only a Conservative Administration can provide for Basildon.

But, the fact is, we knew the halcyon days would not last forever and that we could not freeze Council Tax indefinitely. Local government in Britain is changing and faces unprecedented financial challenges, which will require a profound shift in the way we, as local authorities, finance ourselves and deliver services for our residents.

We all know, between now and 2020, core Central Government funding is going to pretty much halve. This should not come as any surprise to any of us, considering the economic situation inherited just five short years ago and the scale of the problem bequeathed to us by the last Labour Government.

And, of course, Tories colleagues in government all believe in low taxes just the same as we do! That is why Tories in government have increased the personal tax allowance, giving nearly 30 million people in our country a tax cut and taken 3 million of the lowest paid in our society out of Income Tax altogether. We were able to do that because we took the difficult decisions in government to get the deficit down and get the UK economy back on track. In that, George Osborne has been largely successful: we are now one of the fastest-growing economies in the world; with record employment and record low interest rates. But we still have a large fiscal deficit and a Conservative Government was elected last year with a working Commons majority on a clear, unambiguous pledge to carry on reducing the deficit and building up a budget surplus.

We, here in this place, must play our part in this strategy and the Government have introduced a range of measures local authorities had been calling for, devolving powers and resources to local people, such as allowing us to keep 100% of the Business Rates income, for example. Things like this will help us better control our own destiny but will mean some re-alignment on our part.

I for one welcome the challenge. The old model of local government finance was a busted flush, leaving us dependent on decisions made from the Chancellor’s desk in Whitehall. Even London, the most devolved authority in the country, relies on Central Government for three quarters of its funding (compared to New York, where it is 30%, or Berlin, where it is just 25%). Increased local responsibility for budgets will create incentives to innovate and modernise how people engage with local services. This council has already blazed a trail with Sempra Homes and our co-location deal with the Department for Work & Pensions. I am all for decentralisation – the most successful efforts to reduce inequality are found in countries with comparatively high freedom to fund their own finances – Finland, for example, has some of the lowest income inequality in Europe and one of the lowest dependencies on central funding.

This is the direction of travel. It will be a tough period for local councils but I know we here in Basildon can weather the storm, as long as we have a Tory Administration, because Tories have the proven track record in administration in this Borough, not only for efficient and prudent financial management but for innovation and seizing opportunity.

So, I welcome the ongoing investment around the Borough and, while I always deprecate a tax rise, I shall support this Budget tonight and look forward to future budgets when, having made the tough choices, we will be enabled once again to vote for freezes and, who knows, maybe even the occasional cheeky tax cut.

Categories

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  • Basildon & Thurrock University Hospital
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  • Billericay (town)
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  • BROWN, Rt Hon Gordon (fmr. Labour PM)
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  • Buckingham Palace
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  • Budget
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  • Business Rates
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  • BYRNE, Rt Hon Liam, MP (Labour MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill)
  • CALLAGHAN, Cllr Gavin (Lab, Pitsea NW)
  • CAMERON, Elwen
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  • CAMERON, Nancy
  • CAMERON, Rt Hon David (fmr. Tory PM)
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  • CAMILLA, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, GCVO
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  • CANHAM, Cllr Gary (UKIP, Pitsea NW)
  • Care Quality Commission
  • CARRINGTON, Peter, 6th Lord, KG GCMG CH MC (late Tory peer)
  • CARRION, Jose (fmr UKIP cllr for Pitsea SE)
  • CARSWELL, Douglas (fmr. UKIP MP)
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  • Centre for Policy Studies
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  • Citizens' Advice Bureau
  • CLANCY, Cllr Imelda (Ind, Langdon Hills)
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  • CLEGG, Rt Hon Sir Nick (fmr. Lib Dem leader)
  • COKER, Mark (Tory candidate)
  • Community Charge (Poll Tax)
  • Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
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  • Conservative & Unionist Party
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  • Corporation Tax
  • Council Tax
  • COX, Jo (late Labour MP)
  • CRABB, Rt Hon Stephen, MP (Tory MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire)
  • CRAWFORD, Marion, CVO
  • Crime
  • Criminal Justice & Public Order Act (1994)
  • CRIPPS, Rt Hon Sir Stafford (late Labour MP)
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  • Daily Mirror
  • Dale Farm
  • Data Retention Investigatory Powers Act (2014)
  • DAVIES, Cllr Allan (Lab, Fryerns)
  • DAVIS, Rt Hon David, MP (Tory MP for Haltemprice & Howden)
  • Deficit
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  • DORNAN, John (fmr. Tory cllr for Laindon Park)
  • DOVE, Alf, MBE (late Labour cllr)
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  • Downing Street
  • DOYLE-PRICE, Jackie, MP (Tory MP for Thurrock)
  • DRUMMOND, John (Green candidate)
  • Dry Street
  • DUNCAN SMITH, Rt Hon Iain, MP (Tory MP for Chingford & Woodford Green)
  • DWYER, Ian (Tory candidate)
  • EACERSALL, David (DVP candidate, formerly UKIP)
  • Economy
  • Elizabeth Cottage (Billericay High Street)
  • ELIZABETH, HM the Queen Mother
  • ELLIS, Mark (fmr. UKIP cllr for Laindon Park)
  • Employment & General Purposes Cttee (now disbanded)
  • Employment Act (1980)
  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Environment Agency
  • Essex County Council
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  • Euro (European Single Currency)
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  • European elections
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  • FELLOWES, Cllr Derrick (N'Mayne Ind, Nethermayne)
  • Felmores Bail Hostel
  • FERGUSON, Cllr Jack (Lab, Pitsea NW)
  • FERGUSON, Frank (fmr. UKIP cllr for Lee Chapel North)
  • FOOT, Rt Hon Michael, FRSL (late Labour MP)
  • FOX, Rt Hon Dr Liam, MP (Tory MP for North Somerset)
  • FRANCOIS, Rt Hon Mark, MP (Tory MP for Rayleigh & Wickford)
  • Freedom of the Borough
  • Fryerns (ward)
  • G8
  • Gambling Act (2003)
  • GANDHI, Mahatma
  • GANDY, Kim
  • GANDY, Terry (UKIP candidate)
  • General Election
  • GEORGE of CAMBRIDGE, HRH Prince
  • GEORGE V, HM King
  • GEORGE VI, HM King
  • GIBBS, Dr Phillip (UKIP candidate)
  • GILLAN, Stephen (Labour candidate)
  • GILMOUR of CRAIGMILLAR, Iain, Lord (late Tory peer)
  • GORDON, Cllr Andrew (Lab, Lee Chapel North)
  • GORDON, Lynda (fmr. Labour cllr for Lee Chapel North)
  • GOVE, Rt Hon Michael, MP (Tory MP for Surrey Heath)
  • Government
  • Grammar Schools
  • GRANT, Colin (Lib Dem candidate)
  • GRANT, Liz (Lib Dem candidate)
  • Green Belt
  • Green Party
  • GREEN, Cllr Hazel (UKIP, Laindon Park)
  • GREY of FALLODEN, Edward, 1st Viscount, KG (late Liberal Foreign Secretary)
  • GROGAN, Pat
  • Growth & Development Committee
  • Gt. Burstead & Sth. Green Village Council
  • Gypsies & Trevellers
  • HALFON, Rt Hon Robert, MP (Tory MP for Harlow)
  • HALL, Dean (Green candidate)
  • HAMILTON, Neil, AM (UKIP member of the Welsh Assembly)
  • HAMMANS, Cliff (UKIP candidate)
  • Hannakins Farm
  • HANNON, Loren (UKIP candidate)
  • Hard-working Families
  • Harlow Borough Council
  • HARRIS, Rebecca, MP (Tory MP for Castle Point)
  • HARRISON, Alex (Labour candidate)
  • HARRISON, David (fmr. Wickford Independent cllr for Wickford Park)
  • HARRISON, Derek (Wickford Independents candidate)
  • HARVEY, Steve (DVP candidate)
  • HEAD, Anthony (actor)
  • HEALEY, Dennis, Lord, CH MBE FRSL (late Labour Chancellor)
  • Health
  • HEATH, Rt Hon Sir Edward, KG MBE (late Tory PM)
  • HEDLEY-BARNES, Stephanie (Tory candidate)
  • HEDLEY, Cllr Anthony (Con, Billericay West)
  • HENRY, Cllr Jeff (Con, Laindon Park)
  • HERBING, Graham (Labour candidate)
  • HESELTINE, Michael Lord, CH (Tory peer)
  • HILLIER, Cllr Stephen (Con, Langdon Hills)
  • HILLIER, Sandra (fmr. Tory cllr for Langdon Hills)
  • HIRST, Roger (Essex Police Commissioner)
  • HODGE, Cllr Stephen (N'mayne Ind, Nethermayne)
  • HOLLIMAN, Cllr Peter (Con, Wickford North)
  • HOLMES, Daniel
  • Hong Kong
  • HORGAN, Stephen (late Tory cllr for Billericay West)
  • HORN, Nigel (Lib Dem candidate)
  • HOSKYNS, Sir John
  • HOUGHTON, David (UKIP candidate)
  • House of Lords
  • House of Lords Reform Act (2014)
  • Housing & Growth Scrutiny Committee (now disbanded)
  • Housing Revenue Account
  • Hovefields (Wickford)
  • HOWARD of LYMPNE, Michael, Lord, CH QC (Tory peer)
  • HOWARD, Martin
  • HOWARD, Vivien
  • HOWE of ABERAVON, Geoffrey, Lord, CH QC (late Tory Chancellor)
  • HOWE of IDLICOTE, Elspeth, Baroness, CBE (Tory peer)
  • HOWE, B. Edward
  • HUNT, Rt Hon Jeremy, MP (Tory MP for South West Surrey)
  • HUNTMAN, Jamie (fmr. UKIP Cty cllr)
  • HUTTON of FURNESS, John, Lord (Labour peer)
  • HYDE, Jilly (fmr. Tory cllr for Laindon Park)
  • Illegal Encampments
  • Immigration
  • Income Tax
  • Independence from EU Group
  • Independent Labour Group (now defunct)
  • Independent Remuneration Panel
  • Industrial Relations Act (1971)
  • Infrastructure & Community Scrutiny Committee (now disbanded)
  • INGHAM, Sir Bernard
  • Iron Lady, The (film)
  • JACKMAN, Cllr Chris (Con, Wickford Park)
  • JAMES II/VII, HM King
  • JAMES, John (UKIP candidate)
  • JEFFERY, Cllr George (Con, Wickford Park)
  • JENKINS, Phil (fmr. Lib Dem cllr for Nethermayne)
  • JENKINS, Sir Simon, FSA FRSL (journalist)
  • Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA)
  • JOHNSON, Rt Hon Boris, MP (Tory MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip)
  • Joint Standards Committee
  • JOSEPH, Keith, Lord, CH (late Tory peer)
  • KANE, Chf Insp Shaun (Essex Police)
  • KAUFMAN, Rt Hon Sir Gerald (late Labour MP)
  • Kent View Road
  • KEOGH, Sir Bruce
  • KETTLE, Pauline (Independent candidate)
  • Keynesianism
  • KINNOCK, Neil, Lord (Labour peer)
  • KIRKMAN, Cllr David (Lab, Fryerns)
  • KIRKMAN, Paul (fmr. Labour Leader of Basildon Council)
  • KONSTANTINIDIS, George (UKIP PPC for Basildon & Billericay)
  • Labour Party
  • Laindon
  • Laindon Park (ward)
  • Laindon Park & Fryerns (county division)
  • LAKE, Desmond
  • LAMONT of LERWICK, Norman, Lord (fmr. Tory Chancellor)
  • Langdon Hills (ward)
  • LARKIN, Ald. Mo, BEM JP DL (fmr. Tory cllr for Pitsea SE)
  • LATCHFORD, Terry (UKIP candidate)
  • LAWRENCE, Cllr Danny, BEM (Con, Billericay West)
  • LAWSON of BLABY, Nigel, Lord (fmr. Tory Chancellor)
  • LAZARUS, Roland (Billericay resident)
  • Le GRESLEY, Nigel, JP (fmr. UKIP cllr for Wickford Castledon)
  • LE-SURF, Mike (Labour PPC for South Basildon & East Thurrock)
  • LEADSOM, Rt Hon Andrea, MP (Tory MP for South Northamptonshire)
  • Lee Chapel North (ward)
  • Leisure & Community Services Scrutiny Committee (now disbanded)
  • Liberal Democrat and Green Group (now defunct)
  • Liberal Democrats
  • LILLEY, Rt Hon Peter (fmr. Tory MP)
  • LIVESEY, Ron (fmr. Tory cllr for Pitsea NW)
  • Living Wage
  • LLOYD-GEORGE of DWYFOR, David, 1st Earl (late Liberal PM)
  • Local Budget
  • Local Elections
  • Local Highways Panel
  • Local Plan
  • Local Plan Core Strategy
  • Localised Council Tax Support Scheme
  • Localism Act (2011)
  • London School of Economics
  • LORD, Roger
  • LOVEY, Danny (fmr. Tory cllr)
  • LOW, Tony (Tory candidate)
  • LOWMAN, Ven David (fmr Archdeacon of Chelmsford)
  • LUDER, Ian, CBE (UKIP PPC for South Basildon & East Thurrock)
  • MacDONALD, Rt Hon Ramsay (late Labour PM)
  • MACKENZIE, Cllr Luke (Con, Pitsea SE)
  • MACLEOD, Rt Hon Iain (late Tory MP)
  • MAHENDRAN, Bala (fmr Chf. Exec., Basildon Council)
  • MAJOR, Rt Hon Sir John, KG CH (fmr. Tory PM)
  • MALSBURY, Trevor (fmr. UKIP cllr for Lee Chapel North)
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Markhams Chase
  • MAY, Michael (UKIP candidate)
  • MAY, Philip
  • MAY, Rt Hon Theresa, MP (Prime Minister)
  • MAYLIN, Gary (Tory candidate)
  • McCAFFERY, Susan (UKIP candidate)
  • McCREA, John
  • McDONALD, Cllr Elaine (Lab, Lee Chapel North)
  • McGEORGE, Cllr Melissa (Lab, Vange)
  • McGURRAN, Aidan (fmr. Labour cllr for Pitsea SE)
  • McGURRAN, Dolores (Labour candidate)
  • Members' Question Time
  • Members' Remuneration Scheme
  • METCALFE, Stephen, MP (Tory MP for South Basildon & East Thurrock)
  • Mid Staffordshire Hospital
  • MILIBAND, Rt Hon Ed, MP (Labour MP for Doncaster North)
  • MILTON, John
  • Ministry of
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Momentum (Corbynistas)
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  • MOORE, Cllr Dr Richard (Con, Burstead)
  • MORRIS, Andrew (UKIP candidate)
  • MORRIS, Cllr Carole (Con, Wickford North)
  • MORRIS, Cllr Don (Con, Wickford Castledon)
  • MORRIS, Richard (UKIP candidate)
  • MOWE, Cllr Michael (Con, Wickford North)
  • MUNYAMBU, Daniel (fmr. Ind cllr for Vange)
  • MUYLDERS, Sally (Labour candidate)
  • National Health Service
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  • Natural England
  • Nethermayne (ward)
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  • O'FLYNN, Patrick, MEP (UKIP)
  • OAKSHOTT, Hendrie, Lord (late Tory peer)
  • Office of Budget Responsibility
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  • One Nation Conservatism
  • OPPERMAN, Guy, MP (Tory MP for Hexham)
  • OSBORNE, Rt Hon George, CH (fmr. Tory Chancellor)
  • Overview & Scrutiny Commission (now disbanded)
  • PANNIKER, Clare (CEO, Basildon Hospital)
  • Parliament, Houses of
  • Part-Night Lighting
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • PETCHEY, Richard (UKIP candidate)
  • PETRE, John, 18th Lord, KCVO (fmr. Lord-Lieutenant of Essex)
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  • PIPER, Kevin (UKIP candidate)
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  • Pitsea Regeneration
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  • Planning Committee
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  • Public Question Time
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  • QUEEN, HM The
  • QUINCE, Will, MP (Tory MP for Colchester)
  • RACKLEY, Pat (fmr. Ind Labour cllr for St Martin's)
  • RACKLEY, Phil (fmr. Green cllr for St Martin's)
  • RADLEY, David
  • RAINFORD, Tamara (Tory cadidate)
  • RAMA IX, late King of Thailand
  • Range, The
  • RECKLESS, Mark, AM (UKIP member of the Welsh Assembly)
  • Recycling
  • Referendum
  • REGAN, Michelle (UKIP candidate)
  • Regeneration & Environment Committee
  • REID, Cllr Patricia (Labour Cty Cllr for Pitsea)
  • REID, Malcolm (Labour candidate/agent)
  • REIGATE, John, Lord (Sir John Vaughan-Morgan) (late Tory peer)
  • RICHARDS, Alan
  • RICHARDS, Prof Sir Michael, CBE FRCP
  • RICHES, Lorna (UKIP candidate)
  • Right Approach to the Economy, The
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  • ROOFS (anti solar farm campaign)
  • Royal Anglian Regiment
  • RUSSELL, Sir Bob (fmr. Lib Dem MP for Colchester)
  • SAGGERS, Norma (UKIP candidate)
  • SANDHU, Sandeep (Tory candidate)
  • SARGENT, Cllr Terri (Con, Crouch)
  • SAYEED, Jonathan (fmr. Tory MP)
  • SCANLAN, Thomas (Labour candidate)
  • SCAROLA, John (fmr. Labour cllr for Laindon Park)
  • SCHOFIELD, John (fmr. Tory cty cllr for Westley Heights)
  • Sempra Homes
  • SHAND, P. Morton
  • SHEPPARD, David (fmr. UKIP cllr for Fryerns)
  • SHULTZ, Prof George P
  • SIMPSON, Clive (ret. planning officer)
  • SMITH of BASILDON, Angela, Baroness (Labour peer)
  • SMITH, Ald. Nigel, JP (fmr. Labour cllr for Lee Chapel North)
  • SMITH, Cllr Kerry (Ind, Nethermayne)
  • Solar farm
  • South Green (village)
  • Southend High School for Boys
  • ST CLAIR, Lt-Col Malcolm (late Tory MP)
  • ST JOHN of FAWSLEY, Norman, Lord, FRSL (Sir Norman St John-Stevas) (late Tory peer)
  • STANSGATE, Stephen, 3rd Viscount
  • STANSGATE, William, 1st Viscount (William Wedgwood Benn) (late Labour peer)
  • Statement of Consultation (Local Plan)
  • STEPHENS, Nicole (Tory candidate)
  • STOCKTON, 1st Earl of, OM FRS (Harold Macmillan) (late Tory PM)
  • STRATHMORE and KINGHORNE, Claud, 14th Earl of KG KT &c
  • STRAUSS, Norman
  • STREEP, Meryl (actress)
  • SULLIVAN, Cllr Stuart (Con, Billericay East)
  • TAYLOR, Byron (fmr. Labour cllr for Vange)
  • TAYLOR, Jenefer (Labour candidate)
  • TEBBIT, Norman, Lord, CH (Tory peer)
  • THATCHER, Baroness, LG OM (late Tory PM)
  • THOMPSON, Martin
  • THORNEYCROFT, Peter, Lord, CH (late Tory peer)
  • TOMLIN, Cllr Frank (Billericay town cllr)
  • Towngate Theatre
  • Triangle shops
  • TURNER, Cllr Phil (Con, Billericay West)
  • UK Independence Party (UKIP)
  • Uncategorised
  • Uncategorized
  • Unemployment
  • Universal Credit
  • Uttlesford District Council
  • Vange (ward)
  • VARLEY, Eric, Lord (late Labour peer)
  • Veolia Environmental Trust
  • Veolia North Thames Trust
  • Veolia UK
  • VICTORIA, HM Queen
  • WAINE, Rhyan (UKIP candidate)
  • WALLACE, Naomi (Labour candidate)
  • WALTERS, Prof Sir Alan
  • WARD, Stephen (fmr. UKIP cllr for Pitsea SE)
  • WARNER, Spencer (Tory candidate)
  • Waste collections
  • WATERS, Anne Marie (UKIP candidate)
  • WEBB, John (UKIP candidate)
  • Welfare
  • WERRITTY, Adam
  • Westley Heights (county division)
  • WHARTON, James (fmr. Tory MP)
  • WHITLOCK, Max, MBE (Freeman of the Borough)
  • Wickford (town)
  • Wickford Castledon (ward)
  • Wickford Crouch (county division)
  • Wickford Independents
  • Wickford North (ward)
  • Wickford Park (ward)
  • Wickford UKIP (now defunct)
  • WIDDECOMBE, Rt Hon Ann (fmr. Tory MP)
  • WILLIAMS, Ben, OBE (fmr. Lib Dem cllr for Nethermayne)
  • WILLIAMS, Geoff, MBE (fmr. Lib Dem cllr for Nethermayne)
  • WILLIAMS, Linda (fmr. Lib Dem cllr for Nethermayne)
  • WILSON of RIEVAULX, Harold, Lord, KG (late Labour PM)
  • WINDSOR, HRH The Duke of (fmr King Edward VIII)
  • WINGFIELD, Kevin (Tory candidate)
  • Work Capability Assessment
  • Work Related Activity Group (WRAG)
  • YATES, Stephen (Tory candidate)
  • Youth employment
  • ZWENGUNDE, Clarence (Labour candidate)