The Lib Dems are getting back to fighting elections on local doorstep issues like litter, community services and anti-social behaviour, the party's leader has announced during a visit to Birmingham.
Tim Farron was in Sheldon to launch their local election campaign as they bid to bounce back after the disaster of the Coalition Government years which left them with just a handful of MPs in Parliament and a group of 12 city councillors - down from a peak of 32 five years ago.
And they are focusing on the rise in litter and fly-tipping around the city, saying the council must improve its performance.
They are also demanding the city improve its dismal recycling rate of 29 per cent (against a target of 36 per cent) which includes the re-introduction of free household garden waste collections.
They also guarantee to keep libraries open as centres for community services and reverse cuts to youth services, playgrounds and superloos.
Meeting party workers in the Yardley area, Mr Farron said: “I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats in Birmingham are taking the lead in challenging the city’s poor recycling rates and worsening environment.
“Our councillors work in communities helping to make them strong and I hope that Birmingham will elect more of them.”
Coun Jerry Evans (Springfield), group spokesman on waste management, said: “Birmingham’s current record on recycling is shameful.
"The Labour council has withdrawn key services and then wonder why recycling rates are plummeting and it’s failed dismally to meet its targets - as we predicted when they made these changes.
“The public want their free garden waste collections back - and it makes sense. It would reduce fly-tipping and increase recycling.”
Earlier this year, veteran Lib Dem councillor Paul Tilseley stood down as leader and was replaced by Perry Barr councillor Jon Hunt.
Coun Hunt said: “We know the council is facing tough times but it has simply failed to make the local environment a priority. Clean streets and proper disposal of rubbish are what people expect in their neighbourhoods.”
He added that the Government troubleshooters had warned the council to pay more attention to communities and the Lib Dems would do just that.
The local election, when 40 council seats are being contested, is on May 5.