THE Conservative Party has placed emphasis on its “track record” ahead of May’s Somerset unitary authority elections.

Party chairman Oliver Dowden joined Somerset County Council leader David Fothergill at the Conservatives’ manifesto launch event at West Monkton Village Hall on March 31.

Mr Dowden said: “Somerset is a key battleground in these elections.

“We have got to make sure we keep hold of the county because we know that Conservative councils cost less and deliver more.

“Judge us by our track record.

“We promised Brexit in the 2019 general election, and we delivered it.

“There was scepticism that the Government should invest so much in the vaccine programme.

“That investment paid off not once, not twice, but three times.”

He added: “We all know what the alternative is.

“The last time the Liberal Democrats were in charge, they racked up £350 million of debt.”

The Conservatives' manifesto, which Cllr Fothergill describes as “truly ambitious”, has six main pledges:

  • Looking after your money: Keeping council tax low, investing in Somerset’s economy, and investing an extra £18.5 million a year in improving services;
  • Keeping our county moving: Investing in road safety schemes and improved speed limits, doubling spend on roads, and investing £100 million on buses, cycling, and active travel;
  • A planning system that works for all: Ensuring local voices are heard and decision-making is timely, making sure developers deliver community infrastructure, and increasing enforcement of planning decisions;
  • Tackling climate change, described as the “golden thread” running through the manifesto: Protecting and promoting the natural environment, increasing recycling and promoting reuse, and championing sustainable energy;
  • Investing in Somerset: Increasing investment in new business and innovation centres, supporting businesses by creating jobs and growing skills, and improving broadband speeds;
  • Supporting you and your family: Providing the right homes in the right places for local people, increasing support for mental health and wellbeing, and improving leisure and outside spaces to enable healthy, active lives.

The party also has 10 specific pledges for Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset, and Taunton Deane/West Somerset.

Cllr Fothergill said: “We believe this is a truly ambitious, visionary manifesto that delivers for Somerset and the people in Somerset.

“We need to get people out to vote Conservative because, if we lose, the Liberal Democrats will come in and set the tone for a generation.”

Read the Conservative manifesto online at