Conservative Government in-fighting and incompetence have crippled the Government and the running of our country. It is time for a change. 

The Conservative Government’s pre-election budget is unlikely to have any meaningful positive impact on our country or the people of Farnham & Bordon. 

The Sky News headline from a few weeks ago, “Tory infighting breaks out after former minister calls on Sunak to go, with Labour saying it’s ‘like an episode of The Traitors’” explains why. 

The Conservative Government has taken people for granted and ignored voters’ legitimate concerns whilst ministers spend their time promoting themselves and their friends.

Even now, the debate between competing Conservative factions is about what policies will help them cling onto power, rather than what is right for the country and its people. 

The impact of that on Farnham & Bordon is very real. 

Thousands of you are facing huge rises in your rent and mortgage repayments and many of you are now at the point of exhaustion. Citizens Advice in Waverley are seeing a huge rise in the number of people who are falling into debt because their income does not cover expenditure on essential items.

Last year they helped an unprecedented number of people who were unable to meet their electricity prepayment meter costs. In the last five years of this Government, the number of people in Waverley and East Hampshire forced onto Universal Credit has more than tripled.

In collaboration with community volunteers, I have arranged more than 100 kg of food donations to food banks. That is not a badge of honour. It upsets me greatly that we need them in the first place. 

Conservative-run Hampshire County Council, one of the UK’s largest Conservative-run councils, is facing a £132 million budget shortfall. That a Conservative-run council is calling on a Conservative Government to rescue it from financial meltdown is a stark reminder of the cliff edge to which the Conservative Government’s slashing of local budgets has brought all our councils.

The cuts to vital services from the Conservative Government’s decisions will be brutal. They will impact things we all care about. The care our senior citizens receive, school services, support for the homeless, our already poor bus services, repair of our pot-holed roads and more are all under threat. 

In the real world it is harder and harder to see a GP – in December alone 25 per cent of appointments took place more than a week after being booked and 4,000 of you had to wait over 14 days to be seen. 

The GPs are doing their best, but their surgeries cannot grow to accommodate the 5000 new homes in Whitehill and Bordon and elsewhere because of the way that government policy limits Integrated Care Board funding expansion. Neither has the   Conservative Government provided for proper local decision making and consultation to ensure that residents have their say on meeting new infrastructure needed to support new developments. 

Accessing dental appointments is no easier. Not one dental surgery in the constituency is advertising for new NHS patients. One lady told me that she had to get a dental appointment in Waterlooville because she couldn’t get one in Bordon. 

The lack of a reliable bus service meant that she missed appointments. Waiting lists were months long. The result is that 18 months have passed and she still hasn’t been able to see a dentist. 

The truth is that the Conservatives have badly mismanaged the economy and recklessly damaged the public finances. 

They have failed to deliver strong economic growth after the Covid pandemic and added billions to the cost of servicing our debt through their shambolic budgets. 

They have failed to deliver the investment needed to bring prosperity across the constituency and indeed other regions of the UK. 

They have responded too slowly to the cost-of-living crisis. 

They boast that they halved inflation last year to just below five per cent, but fail to mention that on their watch, it has more than doubled from below two per cent in 2020. 

The change of Government demanded by voters is long overdue. That desire for change is exemplified by YouGov’s recent poll on voting trends. YouGov interviewed 14,110 adults to find out which party they would vote for if a General election were held tomorrow. The results were published in The Telegraph on January 14. In Farnham & Bordon, the Liberal Democrats were projected to win with 37 per cent of the vote, with Labour trailing at just 16 per cent. In another poll, Jeremy Hunt is projected to lose neighbouring Godalming & Ash, In Farnham & Bordon, only a vote for the Liberal Democrats can drive change. 

Fairness matters. The way our economy has been managed by the Conservative Government is both unfair and unjust. Plainly, it is not working,

People deserve a fair deal. I and the Liberal Democrats believe in empowering people and allowing businesses to thrive by encouraging investment, boosting productivity and taxing fairly. 

We believe that strong public services are vital for the wellbeing of individuals and society as a whole. Fair and progressive taxation is essential to sustain the services that support our economy and society. We need an election now. The Prime Minister must have the courage to call it.

Khalil Yousuf

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Farnham & Bordon