Making every taxpayer’s pound count

As we start 2014 I have some more good news for tax payers as we continue to make our £ go further through sound financial management

By using cash instead of borrowing in 2013/14, we hope to make a saving of £1.5m on the interest we pay, supporting our aims and ambitions of stimulating economic growth, supporting independent living and making Staffordshire safer.

Over the last few years we have demonstrated sound management of our finances, achieving significant savings in an improving climate which nonetheless remains challenging.  Any saving and investment return we can make is good news for Staffordshire residents and will support our aims of making the county a more prosperous place where people are healthy and happy.

I will be asking Cabinet to approve the annual treasury report at our next meeting on 15 January 2014.

As I have repeatedly said before, we are always looking for better ways of delivering our services in an ever changing world and we are asking for people’s views on what these changes should look like.  From adult social care to libraries we must ensure that we can adapt to the way people live their lives.  We are now looking at proposals to make sure we have a library service that is fit for the future.  The way we access information has changed significantly in recent years with libraries offering more digital services and a rapid increase in the borrowing of e-books.  We want to start that conversation with people and would encourage anyone with an interest in libraries to let us know what they think.  You can read more about it at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/libraries

We are also looking forward to seeing the development of Entrust’s new headquarters in Stafford begin – supporting the regeneration of the site and the town centre.  This is good news for the town’s economy, as it means the extra jobs created by Entrust will remain in the county. We will now be working with our partners to submit a further separate planning application for the supported living accommodation on the other side of the site.

It’s also great to see that this week JLR have started their campaign to recruit 600 staff for their new engine plant at i54 South Staffs.  The recruitment drive will run over the next four years and will see the new recruits take responsibility for the assembly of engine components and operation of the plant’s manufacturing equipment.

The new engine manufacturing centre represents a £500m investment and as we know, brings with it huge economic potential for Staffordshire.  This weekend we’ll also see a major milestone on the project with the lifting of the bridge over the M54 into place.   This was a crucial part of the project which will link the M54 straight to the site, giving businesses immediate access to the country’s motorway network.  Connectivity to the site is also moving forward with the introduction of new bus services to serve the site.  This is all good news for Staffordshire as things move on at a pace.

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