Robin Walker has given a warm welcome to the announcement of deal between local Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to work together on Worcester City Council in order to create stability and focus their efforts on support to the economy and affordable homes.
The deal was reached after days of talks that followed local elections in Worcester that left no party with an overall majority.
Although Conservatives won Claines and held onto most of the seats up for election, they lost one seat to the Green Party in St Stephen and one narrowly to Labour in Cathedral Ward. The results left the Conservatives as the biggest group on the council with 17 seats, just short of a majority, Labour with 15, the Liberal Democrats with 2 and the Greens with 1.
The alternative to the Conservative and Liberal Democrat agreement would have been either a rainbow coalition of all three parties that supported an increase in council tax or a minority administration by one of the two largest parties which could have fallen at any time.
“This deal is excellent news for Worcester. It means we can continue with an administration focused on supporting the local economy, delivering regeneration in Worcester and helping people into homes. There is no doubt that a tough set of local election results sent a tough message to the coalition nationally that people are unhappy with the level of economic growth, but it would be very wrong to read this as representing a desire to return to the bad old days of massive debts and soaring council tax. Despite a celebratory visit by their party leader, Labour failed to contest every seat in Worcester and failed to win the majority that they had confidently expected.”
“I congratulate all those from all parties who won elections last week and commiserate with a number of longstanding councillors who stood down or lost their seats. They have all worked hard for their constituents and I am sure all of them have Worcester’s best interests at heart.. We already have a coalition of two parties working together in the national interest, now we have a deal in Worcester that brings together those same parties in the interests of Worcester. It isn’t easy and it wont always be comfortable but it is the right thing to do and both Liberal Democrats and Conservatives deserve congratulations today.”