Archive for August, 2018

Four years on and superfast broadband hits 96% of premises

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

It’s four years since Kings Bromley and Yoxall became the first villages in the county to ‘go live’ as part of Superfast Staffordshire.  It’s an exciting project and you will have heard about it before.

Run jointly with BT Group and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, the county council is helping bring download speeds of at least 24 Mbps and above to the majority of homes and businesses across the county.

I’m sure you will all agree that superfast broadband speeds are pretty essential these days for everyone, whether it’s for business or leisure.  In fact, it’s now one of the things people look for when moving house.  Communicating with family members, running our smart devices like Amazon’s Alexa,  streaming music and television are all things we can do because of faster speeds.  And for local businesses faster connections are absolutely vital to compete too.

So far, we’ve enabled around 76,000 households and businesses to connect to superfast broadband speeds. The figure rises to more than 481,000, which is around 96 per cent of premises, when combined with commercial fibre roll-outs by private sector businesses, such as Openreach.  We are also continuing to look at further funding options to try and get the remaining 4% connected.

Local businesses can also benefit too and improve their efficiency through the Government operated £67 Million Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. Small and medium sized businesses can apply for  vouchers worth up to £3,000 against the cost of a full fibre connection. This would give them a future proof ultrafast connection of up to 1 gigabit per second.

Groups of residents can also apply for the vouchers of up to £500 where a business is also included. Businesses or group applicants just need to find a supplier to start the process. You can find out more about the scheme by visiting https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/

People can also keep up to speed with the roll-out via the Superfast Staffordshire website: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk via Twitter @superfaststaffs and Facebook following Superfast Staffordshire.

Exam results, and a bright future in Staffordshire

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

August is in full swing, and for many young people up and down the county, this means a nervous wait for their exam results.  Today (August 16) sees students across Staffordshire receive their A Level results, while next Thursday GCSE students will be the ones anxiously awaiting their grades.

There’s now more choice than ever for further and higher education.  We know not everyone is suited to pursuing an academic path, so it’s important they get the right advice and guidance to make sure the path they take is the right one for them.

Areas experiencing growth in Staffordshire include advanced manufacturing, construction, and health and social care, meaning that qualifications such as apprenticeships and Higher National Diplomas could be just as important as degrees in these sectors.

Whatever results they get, every young person in the county should be proud of their achievements, and I want to wish those who have had their exam results, and those who are waiting for them, the best of luck.

The county council’s website has a wealth of information about choosing the right path after A-Levels.  Visit www.staffordshire.gov.uk/learningroutes to learn more.

And speaking of advanced manufacturing, the plans for the extension to the i54 business park in South Staffordshire have been submitted.

If approved, it would mean one large or several smaller employers could deliver 2,700 jobs on site and generate £600million investment.  The success of i54 South Staffordshire has been outstanding – attracting global leaders in their sectors and thousands of skilled jobs to the county.

Coupled with the latest jobs statistics showing near full employment in Staffordshire, it shows that students getting their A Level and GCSE results certainly have a bright future in the county.

Bridge works finished ahead of schedule

Monday, August 6th, 2018

Over the last six weeks our highways crews have been working seven days a week and additional twilight shifts on week days to complete the major improvement scheme on Burton Bridge.

The strengthening, resurfacing and drainage work was due to be completed before the children returned to school in early September, but I’m pleased to report  that crews have now finished the work, three weeks ahead of schedule.

Our crews really have done an amazing job often working on extremely hot days to get the work completed so quickly.  But motorists, residents, local businesses, local councillors, emergency services and bus operators have also played a huge part and I would like to thank everyone for their hard work, patience and support in helping ensure  this major scheme was completed as smoothly and swiftly as possible.

The improvements are part of a wider £6.1m scheme to safeguard both Burton Bridge and St Peter’s Bridge. Now, thanks to this vital investment the use of both bridges have been safeguarded for at least another generation. This is also fantastic news for everyone in Burton and will be great for the town’s economy.

County’s carers recognised at annual awards

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

Young Dignity Champion (Under Age of 21) Winner Daniel West

There are thousands of carers right across the county, always going that extra mile for the people they look after and this month we got the chance to say thank you to them.

Over 200 guests including, young people, family carers, and those working in the care sector gathered for our annual Dignity in Care Awards.

As in previous year’s, we recognised both informal carers like Jayne Clarke for her work in looking after her disabled son, Lyndsey Bowles from Lichfield and young carers of the year  Daniel West and Oliver Durber.

Awards were also presented to formal carers Hayley Clunn from AMG Nursing and Care, Rachel Pender from Davlyn House Residential Home, Ron and Julie Jeffries from Allan House and Oaklea House and Loraine Atherton from RMP Care Ltd.

Once again it was great to see such a mix of people receiving recognition from those working in large carer organisations to the army of informal carers looking after family members and relatives.

I would like to say a huge well done and thanks to all our winners. They should all be very proud of their achievements.