The UKIP challenger to Horsham MP Francis Maude has offically launched his campaign for next year’s General Election.
Roger Arthur is a Horsham district councillor for Chanctonbury and was deputy leader until he defected from the Conservatives in 2013.
He has called on ‘hidden’ council costs to be slashed across Sussex and nationwide, which would include cutting a third of councillors, and firing district and borough council chief executives.
Mr Arthur said: “Everyone sees UKIP as anti-EU – and for good reason - as membership costs equate to around £10,000 per family each year.
“And when our national debt is well over £1 trillion, there is a need for immigration control – we just can’t afford to provide free benefits, housing and aid to all comers.
“But closer to home the waste is staggering.”
He added: “The waste nationwide exceeds £1bn, but politicians and civil servants don’t want you to know, preferring to protect their own careers and empires.”
He predicted councils would try to freeze council tax, by increasing charges, such as for green waste and parking, to fund it, as central Government cuts councils’ funding, and is pushing for ‘bold’ action to keep the books balanced while maintaining key services.
Mr Arthur believes that on top of cutting councillors and chief executives, councils could share functions such as finance and legal to save cash, as well as exploring opportunities to share and rationalise office floor space.
He said: “The Coalition should already have restructured councils, rather than leaving taxpayers under the cosh, when their disposable incomes have fallen.
“But many councillors won’t want to pursue that, as they would be like turkeys voting for Christmas and many of their own would be out.
“I am not a career politician and have earned my way in the real world throughout my life so my priority is not my livelihood, nor protecting any empire – it’s the interests of the people. And it’s time their voice was heard in many areas.”
At Horsham District Council he was cabinet member for operational services, health and wellbeing and more recently finance, efficiency and performance, where he established a three year financial strategy and was deputy leader. He also helped set up a framework for the management of projects and general performance and initiated a programme for transferring youth services, from the county council to parishes.
He is a signatory of the County Times Free Speech Charter.