By Richard Wright
THE new IW Council will do exactly what it says on the blue box-file containing the Tory election manifesto.
The pledge to follow to the letter the manifesto on which the Conservative administration was elected last week came from council leader Cllr Andy Sutton as he took charge at County Hall.
Change is promised in all areas to produce that difficult blend of improving services and spending less money.
"We will do exactly what we said we would before we were elected," he said.
The party has pledged to:
Maintain and improve essential services.
Reduce council tax, comparing the council with the most frugal unitary authorities in the country.
Introduce a residents all Island parking permit and end the war on road users.
Win the war on red tape and waste at County Hall.
Introduce community support officers across the Island to make streets safer.
Improve Island prosperity and strengthen the Island as a tourist destination.
Help town and parish councils deliver truly local services.
Ensure greater investment to improve Island roads and pavements.
Improve schools significantly, offering more choice and a better future for Island youngsters.
Specific pledges were to ensure the statutory services are rated with the best in the country and contactable 24 hours a day and to ensure County Hall was honest and open.
Wide-ranging promises are made in education, including keeping the three-tier system; maintaining village schools; cutting teachers' paperwork; random drugs testing for pupils; giving confidence back to headteachers to exclude unruly pupils by setting up an exclusion centre; and higher educational targets through transferring a local educational authority to an organisation with a proven record.
In social services Conservatives promise to knock on ministers' doors to ensure the government redresses a multi-million-pound funding shortfall; engage with charities and the voluntary sector to improve community care; and improve financial systems to prevent overspending.
On transport the bus lane will go and congestion charging ruled out; 20mph speed limits will be introduced in quiet lanes and near schools and work carried out to replace speed cameras not employed for genuine reasons.
On housing Tories pledge a points system to ensure Island people are at the top of the list, to help young people find affordable homes and increase investment.
There will now be a questionmark over the Wellow wind farm. Tories will not allow farms on or near areas of outstanding natural beauty.
On culture and leisure the promise is to move leisure services to a sound footing with a private enterprise partner; upgrade gardens, piers and esplanades and maintain them to high standards; and seek an international conference centre.
Post-election round-up in the Friday, May 13, edition of the County Press.