Devolution in the headlines again

Devolution is very much the buzzword of our times – grabbing the headlines from Manchester to Cornwall to the West Midlands, and up to the North East, with everyone wanting a slice of the devolution pie.

With the Summer Budget and the devolution revolution gathering pace it seemed a good time to gather partners together and hold our own devolution summit here in Stafford.  This was an opportunity for councils, the police, the NHS, the fire service and business leaders to come together to see how devolution may look for us.

As a firm believer in localism, and decisions being made as local as possible, I couldn’t agree more that in successful counties like Staffordshire, more responsibility and resources should flow from Government to local communities and local decision makers.  In Staffordshire, we already have a track record of working closely with partners in the districts, boroughs and our surrounding shires and cities and the success of the City Deal and i54 South Staffordshire are a huge testament to this.

There should never be a one size fits all when it comes to devolution and, beyond Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country, residents may feel understandably a little anxious about control strings for some local services potentially being pulled from another urban area with a different mind-set.  So when it comes to serving up the devolution pie in Staffordshire there is certainly the appetite, but the focus for me is not on the size of the slice, but on ensuring we have the right ingredients to deliver the best for every single person in Staffordshire.

You may not be aware of this but Staffordshire will be 1,000 years old next year and to mark this we want to create ‘Staffordshire Day’.  The first recorded mention of Staffordshire was in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 1016, so a big year of celebrations is ahead of us.  Working with our tourism businesses through Enjoy Staffordshire, we want people to vote for what that day should be.  Amongst the dates are 5 July – the date the Staffordshire Hoard was discovered – and 1 May, which is the date Wedgwood was established.  Other dates refer to Samuel Johnson, author of the first English Dictionary and the engineer James Brindley.  To read more about the five options, cast your vote and get behind #StaffordshireDay, visit www.enjoystaffordshire.com/staffsday

Sticking with tourism, this year’s awards are now open for entries, so, if you are one of our wonderful tourism businesses, you have the chance to get yourself the recognition you deserve.  There are lots of different categories and all the details can be found at www.enjoystaffordshire.com The winners will be announced on 16 November 2015.

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