The Wokingham Liberal Democrats are questioning whether the Conservatives have their campaign being led by Boris Johnson after accusing them of spreading misinformation.

Councillor Clive Jones (Liberal Democrats, Hawkedon) the leader of Wokingham Borough Council, has accused the Conservatives of six instances of ‘misinformation’ in their campaign leafleting.

According to cllr Jones, the Conservatives claim weekly collections will stop – which he says is not true.

However, there is truth to the Conservatives messaging, as weekly collections for general waste and recycling will be done on an alternating fortnightly basis.

Meanwhile, food waste collections will continue to be collected weekly.

The move for fortnightly collections will be facilitated by introducing wheelie bins, to replace the blue bin bags provided by the council.

READ MORE: Council responds after Conservative motion passes to keep weekly waste collections

The two parties are in a dispute over costs and savings, with the Conservatives saying it will cost at least £7 million to implement with no savings, while the Liberal Democrats say introducing them will provide cost savings of £1m a year and the introduction of the new bins will cost less than £2m.

The Conservatives will retain weekly general waste and recycling collections if elected.

There is also a dispute over amounts being spent on pothole and road repairs, with the Conservatives accusing the Lib Dem administration for not investing enough in such repair.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats claim the Conservatives while they were in power failed to properly utilise a government grant to conduct repairs.

READ MORE: Wokingham Conservatives joined by MPs in push for votes on campaign

The parties have clashed over budgets for bus services.

The Conservatives said they had budgeted for continuing 18 bus services to March 2023 – which is disputed by the Lib Dems, who say a budget was provided until October 2022 only.

The parties have also clashed over the Local Planning process.

The council is undergoing an update to the Local Plan. The Conservatives have correctly argued that the update has not been enacted yet, however a Local Plan is in place until 2026, something which has been noted by the government planning inspectorate when it rejected a planning appeal for 200 homes at Lodge Road in Hurst.

Finally, the Lib Dems have argued that the Conservatives cannot be trusted with council finances, as they used £2.3 million in reserves to plug a budget gap for the 2022-23 financial year.

However, the Conservatives have hit back by saying the Lib Dems have used £1.3 million of reserves for their 2023-2024 budget.

You can find a full list of Conservative claims and Lib Dem ‘fact checks’ in the graphic below, as well as ‘rebuttals’ from the Conservatives requested by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Cllr Jones said: “Misinformation has been the hallmark of the Conservatives nationally for a number of years now.

“It appears to have infected local Conservatives here in Wokingham.

“Local Conservatives are having considerable difficulty telling the truth in their efforts to regain support from voters.

“Don’t be fooled by the local Conservatives’ Johnsonian misinformation.

“Don’t let them anywhere near the running of the borough council again, they will make a mess of the finances and will not look after vulnerable residents in the borough.”

In response, cllr Pauline Jorgensen, Conservative group leader and representative for Hillside said: “The Lib Dem leader said just last week, ‘positive, campaigning, is we believe what most people want to hear’– that lasted just as long as the rest of their promises.

“The claims made by the Lib Dem leader are at best disingenuous, and at worst totally made up. But then what should we expect from the party that bought young peoples’ votes with a promise to abolish tuition fees?

“Residents will make up their own minds, but I think they will not thank the Lib Dems for saying they are keeping bin collections when that is clearly not what is happening – residents are having fortnightly collections imposed on them.

“The Lib Dem Leader’s nonsense assertion that they are keeping weekly bin collections exposes the absurdity of their plan for the same bin collection lorry to visit every week but just collect less of your waste than they do now.

“Being in power is about taking responsibility.

“But all the Lib Dems do is ignore valid criticism – and when that fails, blame someone else. They’ve even channelled their inner Trump, branding legitimate argument as ‘fake news’.

“This attack of Conservative criticism says more about their underperformance and broken promises than it does our campaign. Where is their vision for our Borough?

“All the Lib Dems and their Labour allies have to offer is a year of poor performance and policies that ignore what residents want.

“The Conservatives have a positive plan to deliver on the priorities of local people, and we ask you to support them on May 4.”

The borough council election takes place on Thursday, May 4.

Neither cllrs Jones or Jorgensen are up for election this year.