Cabinet support proposals for a balanced budget

You will know I have written before about supporting the elderly, protecting children at risk and investing in jobs, roads and training and skills and they will all remain our focus for 2016 and beyond.  We all know about the challenging times for councils and the public sector at the minute but it is our job to make those difficult choices, work with what we have and try our hardest to deliver a better life for Staffordshire people while supporting local businesses.  We want to continue supporting those who need our help the most while helping more people to be less dependent on public services and public money.

This week I met with my cabinet colleagues who have supported proposals to accept the offer by Government to increase council tax by a further 2% to spend on adult social care.  This would see a proposed total rise of 3.95% in county council tax in 2016/17. This still leaves our rate amongst the lowest in the country and works out around £40 per year for families living in a Band D council tax property. The proposals will now be presented to Full Council on February 11 for approval.

For anyone interested in volunteering, you might want to find out more about a range of exciting new volunteering opportunities at our libraries right across the county. The volunteer roles are designed to help people explore their own interests whilst making a difference in their community. Dedicating just a minimum of just two hours a week is all that is needed and volunteers will have the opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills whilst helping local communities get the most out of their library. 

Volunteers already play an important role in our 43 libraries, helping and advising customers, organising books and resources and helping out with reading groups and children’s activities.  We also have a team of IT Buddies who show people how to use the computers and the Internet.  If you have some spare time, skills you would like to share or if you’d like to meet new people then maybe it’s for you.  You can find out more at

Sticking with libraries and books, young bookworms might also be interested in this year’s BBC Radio 2 national short story competition.  Children aged 13 and under are being invited to take part in the ‘500 words’ competition which has been running for 6 years now.  We’ve had some previous success in this competition with Uttoxeter schoolgirl Olivia Norton, winning first prize for her age group back in 2011.  The deadline is coming up soon on the 25 February so hurry and get your entries in.  You can find out more at   


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