FOLLOWING last week's synopsis of parliamentary candidates for the borough's three seats, this week the leaders of the three political parties battling for control of Hillingdon Council outline their track record and policies to DAN COOMBS
THE ruling party in Hillingdon has a significant majority, and although the leader of the council, Ray Puddifoot, maintains a 'hung parliament' is a worry in Westminster, he has no fears of a hung council being sworn in.
He said: "Over the past four years, under the control of Hillingdon Conservatives, the council has gone from strength to strength, providing better services and facilities for the residents of the borough.
"Now recognised as among the best councils in London, Hillingdon Council is financially stable and well managed. No one, of whatever political colour, can deny this if they are honest.
"Our policy of putting the needs and aspirations of our residents first and above those of government inspectors - so loved by Labour and the Lib-Dems - has led to record levels of resident satisfaction with council services.
"The next four years will be difficult for the whole country. All political parties agree on this, but in Hillingdon we are well placed through sound financial management to weather the storm and continue to deliver for the people of Hillingdon.
Key pledges * We will build on the success and popularity of the Hillingdon First card, expanding its use and benefits. We will consider the benefits of a junior version for our young residents.
**The Leader's Initiative for Older Residents, which has delivered, among other things, free burglar alarms and the brown badge scheme for over-65s, will continue, as will the leader of the council remaining as the Older Persons' Champion.
* We will continue the Hillingdon First Time Buyers' Scheme, helping our young people with at least 10 years' residency in the borough to buy their first home.
* We will press Transport for London for new north-south bus routes via Hillingdon Hospital.
* We will continue to work closely with the police, providing funding for additional police officers to target crime and anti-social behaviour.
* We will continue to improve our parks and open spaces, including Little Britain Lake in Cowley, Ruislip Lido, Barra Hall Park and Swakeleys Park.
* In the event that a Conservative government was not elected, we would continue to lead the fight at local government level, and support local residents campaigning against Labour proposals for a third runway at Heathrow.
* We will defend our residents against inappropriate development by both builders and the government of any colour, including any proposal for high-speed rail that is not acceptable to the people of Hillingdon.
* We will continue our popular town centre improvement programme, investing in Hayes, Ruislip Manor and Northwood Hills as the next three improvement areas.
THE main opposition to the borough's ruling political party is the Labour group, led by councillor Mo Kursheed.
He said: "The Labour Party in Hillingdon is committed to making a real, positive difference to the quality of our residents' lives by doing all we can within the local community.
"We have also spent the last 12 years opposing and standing up to the arrogance of the Conservative cabinet that has controlled the London Borough of Hillingdon.
"We are not afraid to stand up to our own government when we think they are wrong on issues such as the third runway at Heathrow.
"We wait with eagerness to see what the local Conservative manifesto has to say about the plans that the Conservative Party has for a high-speed rail terminal at Heathrow and the destruction that it would cause to West Drayton and the Heathrow villages.
"The Hillingdon Labour Party has consistently campaigned against Heathrow expansion and we will continue to do so, whether it's a third runway, a sixth air terminal or a high-speed rail terminal."
**We will ensure that the £150million investment from the Labour government for the Building Schools for the Future programme is used to maximise the benefit to our children and young people both now and in the future.
* We will work with schools and colleges to improve the quality of vocational and academic education in Hillingdon.
* We promise to consult on using Golden Crescent Library or another public building as a museum and culture centre, to preserve Hillingdon's heritage.
* We will offer free swimming to under-16s.
**We will support the development of a theatre at RAF Uxbridge, to complement those at Hayes and Ickenham.
* We pledge not to allow changes to any of the four golf courses owned by the council without prior consultation with users. * We will provide additional council tax relief to the disabled.
* We will address and reprioritise the need for affordable housing.
* We would initiate a review of bus lanes in the borough, with a view to having them removed by TfL where we believe they are not fit for purpose. * We would reduce the rising costs of the council's corporate communications department.
* We will reduce allowances for the leader of the council, deputy leader and cabinet members.
THE Liberal Democrats are the council's smallest party, but still maintain a vocal opposition to the Conservative administration.
Buoyed by the success of national party leader Nick Clegg, Hillingdon Lib Dem leader Councillor Mike Cox hopes the positive mood will translate into more seats locally.
He said: "We were canvassing this weekend, and there is a lot of goodwill at the moment towards us. A number of people who were undecided are now thinking of voting for us.
"The London Borough of Hillingdon has suffered over the years, by moving from domination by one of the old parties to another.
"We believe that the people should come first in Hillingdon, not the politicians, which is one of the reasons why we have stood down where independents have a better chance of getting elected. A vote for the Liberal Democrats on May 6 will be a vote for fairness, for common sense and for all the communities that make up Hillingdon, not just one part of it."
Key pledges * We will limit salaries and pension top-ups for senior directors and reward good management.
* We will cut excessive allowances paid to senior councillors.
* We will cut the massive increase in the council's communication budget by reducing propaganda in Hillingdon People.
* We would invest in clear and appropriate street lighting.
* We would invest in and listen to local chambers of commerce.
* We pledge to scrap penal parking charges for those who work and shop in the borough.
* We will incentivise residents' groups for participating in consultations.
* We would place envrionmental issues at the centre of every decision made.
* We pledge to recruit more park keepers and create more outdoors events and activities.