Archive for February, 2017

Nurturing our young entrepreneurs

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Walton School with their recyclable paper briquettes

It’s great to see thousands of our young people taking part in this year’s young enterprise scheme to help develop their personal and business skills.

It’s a great scheme that is inspiring and giving them a good grasp of the world of work and business.  Many of the jobs of the future will come from innovative ideas and start-up businesses so it is important to encourage them at such a young age. This is vital not only for their future, but also to ensure that we build a thriving local and national economy.

So far, our YE students have created their own company, come up with their own products and are now about to take them to sell at some of our local markets. Over twenty High Schools from across the county are already involved, so if you spot them at any markets, stop and say hello and maybe bag a bargain.

 

Highways crews battle with Storm Doris

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Storm Doris made herself known this week as she swept across the county, bringing with her winds of up to 60 mph which brought down dozens of trees and power lines.

Over 70 trees were blown down by the strong winds with the south of the county being hit the hardest.  But, our crews worked extremely hard through the day in very difficult conditions, clearing roads and managing to keep all our roads open. The clear up operation still continues and anyone looking to report any issues can report them at www.staffordshire.gov.uk or by calling our main customer contact centre on 0300 1118000.

Growing the County town and beyond

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Trebor building at Redhill Business Park

I keep repeating that growing our county remains a priority for the County Council and stagnating is not an option. Just this week we have seen the start of the next major phase in the Stafford Western Access Route project, all part of our ambitious growth plans for the town.  Not only will it help to improve traffic flow, but will help unlock millions of pounds worth of future investment, enabling future development and more jobs.

This latest phase will see the junctions of the A34 Foregate Street with Greyfriars Place and Browning Street upgraded to form part of the new route.  Improving traffic flow through the town has always   been an important part of the project and this essential work will help ease traffic by linking Foregate Street and the north of the town centre with the Newport Road on the western side of the town.

It really is an exciting time for Staffordshire as well as our county town.  Only last month we welcomed Chancellor Philip Hammond to the county for a visit of the new GE facilities at Redhill.  GE, who are Stafford’s biggest employer, are expanding their operations on the site which is great news for the area.

Elsewhere in the county, work to improve a junction on the A449 in South Staffordshire which will provide access to the Bericote Four Ashes development starts next week. Construction of Spanish automotive parts firm Gestamp’s new base is also well under way. Both i54 South Staffordshire and Redhill in Stafford are at near full-occupancy. Site development is progressing at Meaford Business Park near Stone, while the county council’s highways team continues its work in building the new Branston Road near Burton which will serve a major business, housing and leisure development.

By planning ahead, we have been able to provide the infrastructure and sites and the development of a skilled workforce to be able to attract and hold major companies. This in turn provides some great local opportunities for higher skilled, better paid jobs and puts money in people’s pockets to spend in our town centres in their leisure time.

Nominations now open for Staffordshire’s dignity in care Awards

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

It’s that time of year again when we start the search for our Dignity in Care champions and you’re invited to nominate care workers, carers, volunteers, young people, family members, teams and organisations.

The awards are for both individuals and teams who always put dignity at the heart of everything they do and this is not just for people working in the care sector but also for all those informal carers too.  There are thousands of people in a variety of caring roles right across the county and we want to recognise them for the work they do.

The Awards, which have now been running for over 5 years give us a wonderful celebration of those people and organisations who provide the highest level of care in our communities, always going beyond the normal good support and going that extra mile.  This year we want as many nominations as we can get to celebrate as many people as possible. Nominating someone is really easy and it’s the perfect opportunity to recognise and thank them for the wonderful difference they make.

You can nominate at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/dignityincare, and the closing date for nominations is Friday 26th May 2017.  Those shortlisted will be invited to the celebration event at Newcastle College on 2 August 2017 where the winners will be announced and presented with their prizes.

Approving plans for record spending on care

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

I met with Cabinet colleagues on Wednesday to approve plans for a record £300million spend on caring for the elderly, people with disabilities and vulnerable children.

This budget, while undoubtedly the most challenging we have seen to date, will help us build on our track record of growing our economy and at the same time spending more on care.

To help the national economic picture, over the last seven years we have reduced council running costs by around £200m and further reduced in-house costs to help tackle reduced funding and deliver a balanced budget.  This year, as well as reducing our costs, we have had to take some very difficult decisions in order to bridge a significant shortfall in our budget and meet our legal duty to balance the books.  As part of achieving our balanced budget we will be increasing council tax by 4.95%, of which 3% will be solely for social care. This is just over £1 per week for a band ‘D’ property.

With a growing ageing population to support, we all now need to look at doing a little more for ourselves where we can, while also paying a little more to help those who now need our help the most.

As you will know from reading previous blog posts too, We continue to bring investment into the county and to build more business parks to create more new jobs. This in turn gives Staffordshire families the opportunity to lead more prosperous, rewarding, healthier, happier and independent lives, which should help reduce some of the pressures on the services the council provides.