Archive for December, 2017

Staffordshire’s War, a window into the home front in Staffordshire

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

A number of years ago our Archives Service rediscovered some very interesting WWI Military Appeal Tribunal Papers  which should have been destroyed after the war but weren’t.  It was widely reported on the BBC and you can read more about it here. 

Well, these along with other eye-witness accounts, letters and diaries have revealed lots about life on the home front here in Staffordshire.  It’s all been pulled together in a new book called Staffordshire’s War written by Professor Karen Hunt and volunteers from our Archives Service.

It’s a fascinating insight with personal stories about ordinary people and how they were fighting their own battles to feed their families and help keep the war effort going.  It shows us how people managed to survive in a new wartime economy, how they coped to earn a living; how they shopped, cooked and shared food despite increasing food shortages and a rocketing cost of living. This is also when we saw for the first time, the introduction of food rationing, which was invented in local communities.

The project has taken two years with a huge amount of input from our volunteers, You can find out more about Staffordshire’s War by watching this short video.  And, if you’re looking for that last minute stocking filler for someone who enjoys their local history or the Great War, Staffordshire War is available from Amberley Press, £14.99.

 

Merry Christmas, Philip.

Setting out our budget

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

This week we set out our budget plans for the next five years which will see a record spending of £310 million on care for the elderly, more support for children in care and further work to grow our economy. 

The increasing costs of care for our growing ageing population continues to be our biggest pressure, as we still have to tackle a £12 million shortfall to balance the books next year. And, as we move to become self-financing due to the loss of Government grants It’s vital we continue to grow the economy, attract and support more companies to do business here and encourage more house building.

“We have already reduced the running costs of the county council by £195 million over the past eight years.  Alongside this, our work to grow the local economy has already brought in almost £400 million of investment and once complete it will see the creation of over 13,000 jobs. We will continue to do everything we can to both make sure we build on this achievement, but also continue to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

It’s a challenging budget. Although nobody likes to pay more taxes Staffordshire has had one of the lowest county council taxes in England – and still does.  With a growing, ageing population to support we all have to now pay a little more and this includes a 3 per cent rise allowed by Government to help towards social care.  That means an increase of 4.95% which is just over £1 per week on a band D property.

The proposals will now go to cabinet on December 20, scrutiny in the New Year and Full Council in February.

 

Gritting crews working round the clock

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Having been working round the clock since Friday to tackle sub-zero temperatures and snow, our gritting crews are continuing their work to keep the roads clear. And, while we’re not expecting more snow, the freezing temperatures are set to continue which means there’s still a risk on some ice on the roads and on the footpaths, so please take extra care.  If you are on the roads please drive to the conditions, slow down and leave plenty of room between you and the car in front.

Remember about your older neighbours too and to check them to see if they are safe and well.  It’s a long time since we have seen temperatures as low as this and we know that this can be serious for some older and more vulnerable people.  Drop round and say hello.  If we all play our part and look out for our neighbours we’ll get through the cold snap.

We’ve also seen a lot of schools closed today because of the ice but just a reminder that you can get an up to date list on school closures on our website at  www.staffordshire.gov.uk and searching for ‘school closure list’.  Schools should update the closure list once the head teacher has taken the decision so parents ought to check regularly.

Again, if you’re out, take care.