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Prime Minister Theresa May makes appearance in North Lincolnshire

The Prime Minister spoke at a conference in northern Lincolnshire recently.

Prime Minister Theresa May makes appearance in North Lincolnshire

Following a victory rally in Copeland after the by-election success,Theresa May spoke at the Conservative Councillors' Association Conference at Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Resort, near Broughton, on Friday, February 24.

A spokesman for 10 Downing Street confirmed the Prime Minister's visit at the Forest Pines conference which took place on Friday and Saturday (February 25).

"It is good to be here this afternoon on a day of celebration for our Party.I have just come from Copeland where I was able to congratulate the Conservative Party's new Member of Parliament Trudy Harrison on her extraordinary victory.

Forest Pines hotelAnd earlier today, I spoke to our excellent candidate in Stoke-on-Trent Jack Brereton, and congratulated him on his very strong performance in that constituency too.Let us not be in any doubt about what these results represent.Copeland is a seat that Labour describe as their 'core vote country'. It has returned Labour MPs without exception since the 1930s. It is a seat they thought they would win this time. A seat where they expected to increase their majority.And it is true to say that the result is a devastating blow for them, and proof that Labour are out of touch with the concerns of ordinary working people.That statement is true, but insufficient.Because Labour didn't just lose Copeland. We – the Conservative Party – won Copeland.And we did it with an excellent local candidate in Trudy Harrison who will be a fine MP for that constituency. We did it with a brilliant local campaign that focused on the things that really matter to local people. And we did it because it is this Party – the Conservative Party – that is listening and responding to the concerns of ordinary working people across Britain today.It is this Party – the Conservative Party – that is delivering on their concerns and priorities.And it is this Party – the Conservative Party – that is determined to stand up for working people in every part of this country, every single day.That is why today, it is this Party – and only this Party – that can truly call itself the Party of working people. A Party determined to build a country that works for everyone, and not just a privileged few.

So today we celebrate Trudy's victory and all it represents. And it is good to be able to be here so that we might celebrate together.For this is a really important conference. A chance to prepare for the elections on 4th May. And an opportunity to come together as a Conservative family and share in each other's success.As many of you will know, I started my political career in local government. It is where I earned my political spurs – serving as a councillor for eight years in Merton, and being privileged to serve as Chairman of Education and Deputy Leader of the Group.And even today, as this job consumes all my time and pulls me away to different parts of the world, I am rarely happier than when I am at home campaigning on the streets of my constituency. Working alongside my own local councillors to show the difference that Conservatives in office can make to a local community.I have said it before, but for me politics is a team activity. And while I am often the one the media features delivering speeches, meeting foreign dignitaries or conducting international visits, I am conscious that I am always representing and being supported by every one of you.And not just you. But also the huge network of hardworking volunteers and professionals who support you, weekend after weekend, campaign after campaign. The people who help to make it happen.Because we are one Conservative & Unionist Party. At whatever level and in whatever way we serve, we are united by the things that we believe and the values that drive us. Our belief in freedom and responsibility. The love we have for the precious union of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our determination to build a country that works for everyone. And our belief that we will only deliver that mission by committing ourselves to public service.We all know that sometimes it would be easier not to do it. It is always easier to step back and let others shoulder the burden and do the work.But as Conservatives, we believe in public service. We believe there is more to life than individualism and self-interest. And we believe that if we want stronger communities and a better future for our children then we have to step up and take responsibility for shaping it.And that is what politics is all about. It's about putting your head above the parapet. Standing up to be counted. Doing the difficult thing. Rolling up your sleeves and getting involved.It's not always glamorous or exciting, but at its best it's a noble calling. And you – the people in this room today– represent the best of it. Because you are the people who could stand aside, but who choose to do otherwise. The people who make it happen.So let me start this afternoon by simply saying thank you for everything you do and for being the backbone of our party and the backbone of Britain.

For that is what you are. Conservatives are the largest party in British local government. We have more councillors and run more councils than any other.Even during the years when we were in opposition nationally, Conservative councillors were laying the foundations of our revival.And everything we are able to achieve at a national level today – whether it is getting the right deal for Britain as we leave the European Union or delivering a better deal for ordinary working people here at home – springs from your years of local endeavour.So the local elections in May are absolutely vital. This year, we see local elections across England, Scotland and Wales. They include all of England's county councils, as well as the first elections for the new wave of metro-mayors.I know that many of you will be standing for election yourself. And I know that even if you are not, you will be out pounding the streets and campaigning for your Conservative colleagues. I will be there alongside you too.We have a proud record of success in local government on which to campaign.I know the past few years have not been easy. Indeed, the continued resilience and strength of Conservatives in local government is even more of an achievement because of the difficult savings that have been needed to bring Labour's deficit down.Local government accounts for a quarter of all public spending, but you have made a significant contribution to delivering the savings that have been required across the public sector in recent years.And you have done it while maintaining high levels of service delivery and public satisfaction, as the LGA's own research shows.Labour councillors have stood on the sidelines grandstanding, and prophesying doom and gloom.But Conservative councillors have rolled up their sleeves and got on with the job, delivering substantial efforts to modernise, transform local services, and reduce waste so that frontline services can be protected.We have a track record of standing up for local people, while Labour councils always tax more, interfere more, and waste more.And since the election and re-election of Jeremy Corbyn, the danger of electing Labour at a local level has got even worse.Because Labour's local branches are changing.Labour's councillors now dance to the tune of the militant unions and Momentum's hard-left activists, facing threats of candidate de-selection if they don't.Last year, Labour's Deputy Leader warned of entryism in Labour by the far-left.This year, even the Stalinists in Momentum are complaining about being infiltrated by the Trotskyites.But for those of us who remember what Militant did to Liverpool, it doesn't matter what term you use - we can't allow Labour to get a foothold back in local government and let them do for local communities what they did to our country.Of course, Labour aren't the only party we face in this year's local elections.I have fought the Liberal Democrats all my political career. And those of you who face them locally will know that the only way to defeat them is street-by-street, door-by-door. Matching them for effort and beating them with our record.Working hard, campaigning locally, and staying true to our word.That is how we turned Windsor & Maidenhead and Wokingham from a Liberal Democrat target into a Conservative stronghold. And it's what we must do all across the country too.Because this country is facing a critical moment. A moment of great national change.As we do so – as we leave the European Union and turn our face to the world – we must seize this opportunity to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want Britain to be.My answer is clear. I want our country to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before.Such a country won't just emerge. It will take effort and focus. Discipline and hard work.It will require us to work together at every level of government, every step of the way.And it will require us to set out and stick to a plan.So over the next few weeks and months, I will set out this Government's Plan for Britain. A plan to get the right deal for Britain abroad, and a better deal for ordinary working people here at home.A plan to shape a new Global Britain that forms a new strategic partnership with our friends in Europe, but gets out to build relationships with old friends and new allies around the world too.A plan to build a stronger economy where everyone plays by the same rules, with a new modern industrial strategy at its heart designed to spread prosperity across the country and to secure the high-quality, high-skilled jobs of the future.A plan to shape a fairer society where success is based on merit, not privilege - where we sweep away the barriers that hold people back and ensure that everyone can go as far as their talents and hard work will take them. With a good school place for every child, more affordable homes, a fair welfare system that rewards work, and an immigration system that is under control so that it is fair to all.And a plan to build a more united nation that our children and grandchildren are proud to call home.That is the mission of this Government and this Party. And it is a mission that responds to the concerns of ordinary working people too.Because when people voted in the referendum last June, they weren't just expressing a view on our relationship with the EU. They were demanding that we change the way our country works – and the people for whom it works – forever.And that is what we must do.Not just carrying on regardless, but heeding the public's call for change. Not just leaving the European Union, but taking this opportunity to build a stronger, fairer, better Britain too.And it is because we understand this – because we alone are prepared to listen and respond to what the people want – that we can approach the future with confidence as a Party - a Party that can shape a brighter future for our country.Local government has a critical part to play in shaping that brighter future.So we will back you – and work with you – to do so. I know there are challenges ahead and difficult decisions have to be made.But we will work with you to meet those challenges. And we won't ask town halls to do anything that we won't be asking of Whitehall too.We will work with you to help tackle the pressures from a growing and ageing population.There are a million more people over the age of 65 since 2010.There are a quarter of a million more people over 80.It is a triumph of technology and rising living standards that people are living longer. But it brings with it pressures on public services, especially for the care of our elderly.People who have worked hard all their lives deserve dignity and respect in retirement.The Spending Review put in place up to £3.5 billion of additional funding for adult social care by the end of this Parliament.The NHS in England will see an increase in real terms of its funding of £10 billion.Conservatives are totally committed to supporting our NHS to continue to deliver the very best services.Contrast that with the Welsh Labour Government, which has cut NHS funding.But more money is not the only answer.There is a twenty-fold difference or more between the best and worst performing areas on delayed discharges.Over half of all social care delayed discharges are in just 24 council areas. The best councils show it is possible to expand funding and provision.We need to properly integrate health and social care to eliminate unnecessary delay, and we must share best practice in health and social care across our country to reduce disparities.And in the medium and long term, we recognise the need for far-reaching reform to encourage high standards across the whole country, and help address these demographic changes.The social care precept has a role in increasing support for adult social care.But as Conservatives, we also recognise the importance of keeping council tax bills down overall for working people.Council tax in England has fallen by 9 per cent in real terms from the levels under the last Labour Government.And bills are still expected to be lower in real terms at the end of this Parliament than they were in 2010.The Labour Government hiked up taxes and charges by stealth, with double digit rises a year.Conservatives locally and nationally helped freeze council tax in the last Parliament.We abolished council tax for our brave Armed Forces serving on operations overseas.We introduced a new council tax discount for family annexes, to help support extended families of both young and old.We gave taxpayers the legal right to spread their council tax bills over 12 monthly instalments, to help manage their cash flow.And we replaced Whitehall capping with the rights for local residents to veto excessive tax rises.I will happily admit the latter isn't the most the most popular policy amongst council finance officers.But it provides a local democratic check and balance against unreasonable and excessive council tax rises that dominated the Labour years.So the message is simple: Conservative councils cost you less, and deliver better services.This year, Conservative councils across England typically charge £96 a year less on a Band D bill than Labour councils, and £115 a year less than Liberal Democrats councils – what few remain.So the choice at these elections is clear – the competence of a strong Conservative council who will deliver value for money, versus the disarray of the rest.It is Conservatives who stand up the most for your neighbourhood – protecting your local environment and local amenities.And it is Conservatives who stand up for our community institutions – the fabric of local life in a hectic world – from community pubs to local high streets.In the last and this Parliament, Conservatives in Government have given councils a whole range of new powers to protect community assets, to bring planning down to local neighbourhoods and support local jobs and local firms.We want to see a stronger economy where everyone plays by the same rules.We will invest in the skills, sectors and areas that will spread wealth and opportunity around the whole country, supported by our modern Industrial Strategy.And we will always stand up for small shops and small firms, particularly as they face challenges – and opportunities – from internet competition.We have cut corporation tax and National Insurance for employers.We are comprehensively extending small business rate relief and rural rate relief from this April, alongside further business rate reductions for broadband investment and local newspapers.Of course, it is right that local firms make a contribution to councils' street lighting, the fire service and local highways on which they all use and depend.But I recognise the need for fair play too. Following calls from business, we are revising the valuations on which their business rate bills are based. As we do so, we want to ensure the system is fair – it has been seven years since they were looked at so it's absolutely right that they are being updated.Of course, different businesses will see different impacts. That is why we have already announced £3.6 billion of transitional support to help those companies facing increased bills, and why I have asked the Chancellor and Communities Secretary to work to ensure there is appropriate relief in place for the hardest casesOur broader local government finance reforms will entail a step change in supporting business.Building on 50 per cent retention introduced in the last Parliament, councils will in due course keep all locally-raised business rates.Councils will take on new responsibilities to be funded from this additional income – worth an extra £12.5 billion a year.Councils and mayoral authorities will have far stronger incentives to support business growth – joining up their tourism, planning, licensing and parking policies to support town centres and local business.And by growing the total pot of business rate revenue from higher economic growth, there will be more funding available to support local public services and new infrastructure.Of course, we will need to carefully consider the transition to self-sufficiency, and ensure fairness to all parts of the country – north and south, shire and metropolitan.And we will also recognise the need to tackle the disadvantages that rural areas have historically faced.Pilots of these reforms will take place from this April in Liverpool, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, West of England, Cornwall and Greater London.We will roll out further pilots next year, especially in two-tier areas which have not benefited so far.So as we look ahead and face the future together, I want to see a new partnership between local and national government – a real partnership that will deliver our Plan for Britain and the stronger, fairer country that we need.Our reforms are giving local councils, local neighbourhoods and local residents more powers and more control.Local councils and elected mayors now have more control over their finances, more freedoms to decide where development should and shouldn't go, and more powers to boost jobs and support local firms.But such new powers bring with them new responsibilities, and local Conservatives are best placed to use them.And with Conservatives in local and national government working together, we can really take the opportunity of this great national moment to change Britain for the better.So my message to you and to those beyond this hall is clear: on 4th May, don't let Labour do to your council, what the Labour Government did to our country.Working hand in hand with a Conservative Government in Westminster, it is only Conservatives in local government that will deliver the brighter future we need.It is only the Conservatives that can deliver a better Britain."

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