Nation Farmers’ Union meets with HS2

I was at the Stafford Showground recently where around 180 concerned farmers were gathered to discuss HS2, the new high speed rail development that will pass through Staffordshire. The development will cut its way through large areas of Staffordshire as it travels to Manchester, impacting farms, homes and communities.

The gathering was organised by the National Farmers’ Union, who wished to discuss the consequences of HS2 and the available help. I attended to hear the concerns of everyone there, as fellow farmers and as Staffordshire residents. I was concerned to hear about some of the personal ways the railway will affect our residents, and it has strengthened my conviction that the council will do all it can to mitigate the development’s effects.

The potholes of Staffordshire should soon vanish as our extra funding for pothole repairs is put to use. Our road maintenance teams have done some excellent work over the past year, but the wettest year on record has done its damage and we’ve seen 50% more holes in the past six months than the previous year. Let’s look forward to smoother, safer roads across the whole county. 

In a piece for The Guardian where SCC got a mention , Sir Merrick Cockell describes a future where as further cuts are taken the role of councils will require the commissioning of services rather than direct delivery. 

Efficient and effective commissioning will be vital and more important than ever and Councils will look very different in years to come.  We’re looking at a future where the county council increasingly takes on the role of the key decision maker within our communities whilst developing partnerships with the private sector, charities and voluntary organisations to deliver cost effective and efficient services.  For success Councillors and Officers will need the skills and expertise which they will get through the Commissioning Academy.  To learn more read the article at .

I’m also delighted to report that our ‘Budget for families and jobs’ proposals, which form part of the council’s Strategic Plan and Medium Term Financial Strategy, were given the backing by members of the full council last week.

The strategies outline our plans for the year and how we will pay for the work we will do, as well as recommending the new levels of council tax for 2013-14.  It is proposed that the county council share of the tax bill for a typical Band D property will be £1,027.25, a real terms reduction over the last four years once inflation and the tax freezes are taken into account.  Our proposals reflect input and ideas from local residents, businesses and trade unions from across the county.

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