Great news as next round of City Deals launches…

It’s  terrible to hear about the escalated issues of the ash tree disease and its something I’m quite concerned about. After the not-too-long-ago disasters of when the elm trees suffered a similar fate, the prospect of having to burn yet more of our countryside and forestation to stop the spread of that vile fungus is a sad thought. The council will do its part to contain the problem and contribute to halting the disease. I do hope the efforts of the nation will be able to destroy this ailment and save our country’s ash trees.

Great news on the City Deal front. For those that don’t know, your council and business leaders are competing with 19 other regions for a £1billion Government deal to generate 50,000 jobs in the county over the next 10 years. We’ll be working together with Stoke on Trent City Council to compile a manifesto for our bid. Ambitious ideas are being put across, making a unique and daring effort for the deal. We will promote everything we have to give and everything we can achieve.

In addition, Lord Heseltine recently completed his review of UK Competitiveness. His recommendations suggests that greater powers for councils and local enterprise partnerships to stimulate their economies can create more jobs for Staffordshire residents. Our strong local partnerships and public sector organizations are clearly a strong step in the right direction and will help pave our path to future growth.

A report also presented to cabinet recently has shown that Staffordshire is on track in its achievements and contributions towards balancing the budget, with particular notice towards the work of i54 South Staffordshire and the business support helpline. It’s always good for such positive reinforcement that we are heading in the right direction. You can read the full report at http://moderngov.staffordshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=123&MId=3533&Ver=4 and read from page 22 of the agenda reports pack.

You may recall those adverts on TV with people like Theo Paphitis or Karen Brady saying “I’m in” in reference to the work place pension’s scheme, in hopes of encouraging people to save for the future rather than rely on the state pension. SCC would like to announce its involvement in the project. This is a positive and beneficial idea being put into practice that will have major benefits in the future, and we are happy to join the Government’s ‘shake-up’ of pensions. ‘We’re in.

I’m now thinking ahead to Remembrance Sunday and attending my local village service at the War Memorial in St Michael’s Lychgate, Rocester.  Armistice Day stands as one of this country’s proudest and most dignified days of the year, and the united gathering of an increasing number of people to commemorate Britain’s war casualties is a significant event.

We have many magnificent memorials and gardens dedicated to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in our towns and villages including the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas and the Cannock Chase War Graves.

As a long-standing supporter of the Armed Forces I would encourage people to visit one of the county’s wonderful sites this Sunday and attend a service of Remembrance to honour the fallen and stand in silence at the stroke of eleven o’clock.

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