Staffordshire’s Olympians – here to inspire

It’s very possible that there isn’t a single person in the country who hasn’t been affected in some way by the recent flooding crisis. Houses have been badly damaged, work has been halted, post has been delayed, and every news report has shown us new ways heavy rain can attack a country.

The flooding hit everyone in its own way. For me and fellow farmers there was the rush to get livestock out of danger before the storm arrived, a wise move as I woke up to find a lake where my field was. A plague of slugs and the cold, sodden soil has left Britain with a forecast for a wheat deficit this harvest. As I drove past Rocester I also saw the reflection of the village lights in the water-logged land where a developer hoped to get permission for 90 new homes, good job he failed! Big thanks to our highways crews who worked around the clock to keep our roads safe and clear.

Following the Olympics legacy celebrations Staffordshire hosted last week, Anna Watkins was welcomed around Lee Pearson and Anna’s old school at Westwood High School in Leek. Anna was there to inspire young athletes and both contributed to a time-capsule and I even got to see and hold the famous gold medal, they really are spectacular. I’m glad that Staffordshire’s Olympians take the time to invest in the future of national sporting achievements. They are both great motivators for our up coming athletes.

This week was a monumental one for the Council and schools in Staffordshire. A new joint venture is being sent to the SCC cabinet for approval, a deal which will save 4,000 new jobs and creates 1,600 others. School support services will be safeguarded by a joint venture with Capita, who will bring £50m of investment, £40m of which is intended for staff and services, to be put into action over the next three years. I have a lot of confidence in this deal; it is a positive move that will allow us to invest additional resources across the county. Capita are a strong partner for this venture and I look forward to the benefits this deal will bring.

I also travelled to London and listened to Emma Squire Head of Local Growth at BIS talking on City Deals at the Local Government Association Economy and Transport Board. Draft Expression of Interest for Wave 2 in this week.

Congratulations to Tracy Key who supports us in the Cabinet Office for 25 years service with the Council. We celebrated her achievements with 19 others at the long service awards

And I managed to get to Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council to sign the District Deal with their Leader Gareth Snell. Another great example of good partnership working.

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