Archive for January, 2020

Commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day

Monday, January 27th, 2020
Staffordshire County Council Chief Executive John Henderson, Chairman Kath Perry, and Leader Philip Atkins, mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2020

Seventy five years ago, the infamous Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated and is the reason why we’re commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day.

It’s really important that we remember those affected by genocide around the world and the day gave us the chance to reflect on the past but also helping empower us to build a better future for us all.

On Monday and throughout the week, organisations from across the county are marking the occasion with memorial events and activities. Our own libraries have also got involved with a series of displays to raise awareness and encourage learning.  I do hope that people can take a few moments during the week to remember and reflect.

Work going well on multimillion pound Lichfield Southern Bypass

Friday, January 24th, 2020

I mentioned this in my last post and gave a shout out to the crews who worked over the Christmas holiday to get work completed on a new rail bridge in Lichfield.

This was a fairly major engineering project and part of the multi-million-pound Lichfield southern bypass scheme which will help ease congestion and support economic development in the city. You can watch the installation of the rail bridge on time lapse video here.

Now, with the new bridge in place, the project team will be able to excavate underneath to connect the new section of road with the Falkland Road/Birmingham Road island. Once complete, the scheme will connect the A5127 Birmingham Road with the A5206 London Road.

This is another example of the county council and our partners delivering a major development project on schedule and is a hugely encouraging start to the new year.

I’m excited about 2020. Over the next twelve months we’re going to see significant progress with our main transport and business construction projects, namely the Stafford Western Access Route, i54 South Staffordshire western extension and Lichfield southern bypass. These are all vital projects for our future growth, bringing in investment, new homes, good quality jobs and improving connectivity.

Setting out our priorities for 2020

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

It seems like a distant memory now, but I hope everyone had an enjoyable break over the Christmas and New Year period and got the chance to spend some time with friends and family. And for those of you who made New Year’s resolutions, I hope they are still going well. I’d also like to pay tribute to those who remained on duty over the festive period. That includes the engineers on the Lichfield Southern Bypass who worked round the clock from Christmas Eve until the 28th to install a new rail bridge, with minimal disruption to rail passengers.

It’s been a busy January so far and last week I met with colleagues to set out our budget and priorities for the year ahead.  And, with a new Government in place, I’m excited about the future and about how we can make Staffordshire an even better place to live in, work in and to visit.

I have written about the ever-growing demands on caring for our elderly and increased pressures on children’s services in numerous posts. But they still remain our biggest challenges.

Ten years ago we were spending around £200 million per year on care to help support the most vulnerable in our communities, but this year we will be spending a record £320 million.

We have been swift to recognise the challenge though, and have had plans in place to reduce costs to help manage the growing pressures. This all means we can live within our means, deliver a balanced budget and still protect everyone eligible to receive care next year.

In addition to the essential spend on care, we will also be investing more than £120m on important capital projects like schools and business sites, an extra £8.1m in helping to keep more children out of care, and £650,000 on climate change projects.

To help meet the increasing pressures and costs, particularly around care, and with national Government funding continuing to fall, council tax will rise by 3.95 percent, which includes a 2 percent levy to help towards the care bill. This is still amongst the lowest rate in the country and works out at less than £1 per week on the average bill for a Band D Property.

As we start 2020, I remain incredibly optimistic about how much we can still achieve with partners and our communities for the benefit of Staffordshire families.

Be assured, our work to create even more better paid jobs for people, protect the most vulnerable, and give everyone the best shot at living as healthy, rewarding and independent a life as possible will remain our focus.