Daniel Stafford, deputy chairman of fundraising and membership at East Oxford Conservatives, hits back at Oxfordshire County Councillor Laura Price’s condemnation of Tory austerity cuts

Councillor Laura Price’s recent remarks on spending cuts are reflective of a general struggle by the left since the Conservative victory in May to understand how the country could have voted for the monster they warned of in their own propaganda.

The answer is very straightforward – the monster is entirely mythical, a convenient construction of Labour’s making and an illusion that the country had no difficulty in seeing straight through.

Let’s focus on what Conservatives actually stand for.

We care enough about the next generation that we want to control public spending so that future generations don’t have to pay for the debt of their parents and grandparents.

UK taxpayers currently pay £50bn every year just on the interest for our existing debt – money that ought to be spent on defence, infrastructure and essential services.

Current spending restraint may be painful and felt locally but it is essential to safeguard future spending.

Labour’s protests would be much more credible if they at the very least acknowledged that they’d spent too much while in government and set out a sustainable alternative.

Conservatives also care that local authorities use their money wisely to protect essential frontline services, which is why the county council has striven to cut waste and introduce efficiency savings wherever possible.

It is worth noting the contrast between the county council reviewing whether the chief executive post is needed, hoping to save £160,000 per annum, to Oxford City Council creating a new assistant executive post at £90,000 per annum – a supposed “saving”.

Our successful local campaign last year to keep Marston & Northway Children’s Centre open demonstrates that while we support value for money, we also value essential services – and we will continue to put the concerns of residents first as we identify where to make additional savings.

Nationally, the Government is actually doing something about the cost of living, not just talking about it, by creating thousands of jobs, putting a regular pay cheque into working families’ pockets, while at the same time raising the threshold at which one begins to pay income tax. We want to make work pay.

Labour protestations about the cost of living have not stopped them raising Oxford’s council tax by the maximum two per cent year after year.

Appeals for more funding will hold little water while money continues to pour into prestige projects rather than protecting services first.

I became a Conservative activist because I believe our policies are the best to lift the poor and disadvantaged out of poverty – to give individuals and families the dignity and security of regular work and ensure that public finances are both sustainable and spent where they are most needed.

It would be foolish to deny difficult decisions lie ahead to make our city the very best it can be, but Labour won’t do themselves any favours projecting an image of the Conservatives that bears no resemblance to reality.