The heavy snow has served to heighten awareness of how vulnerable most of us become in extreme weather conditions.

How many were not even able to get into work for the day because roads were too dangerous and buses were cancelled.

I read with dismay how people in Taunton and around Bishops Lydeard and Wiveliscombe had to cope without electricity during some of the coldest days of the winter so far.

One of our Conservative team, John Wilkins, who is standing for the County Council in the June elections to represent the Lydeard division - the area including Norton Fitzwarren, Bishops Lydeard, Cotford St Luke, and West Bagborough - was able to give me first-hand accounts of the difficulties people faced.

John Wilkins and I were particularly concerned about the elderly and frail, who are the more likely to suffer whenever the weather turns nasty.

But when we spoke with people we found it was not just the weather giving them a battering at the moment, it was also Gordon Brown's Government.

Many people have seen a dramatic drop in their income because Brown's incompetence in running the economy has led to record-low interest rates on their savings.

Others struggle to get by on the basic State pension, which is no longer index linked to properly keep pace with rising costs.

The increasing cost of electricity and gas just to keep warm and cook meals is also causing real hardship for many pensioners who sometimes face the stark choice: Heating or eating?

Conservatives will do more for the frail and elderly.

We will raise the basic State pension in line with earnings, and we will create new mechanisms for direct payments and individual budgets for long-term care.

Conservatives also want to break down the barriers between health and social care, and provide personalised services in the community and the home, with a much bigger role for the voluntary and social enterprise sectors.

If you would like to know more about how Conservatives will help those in our communities who are vulnerable, just email John Wilkins or myself at or visit: