The Budget and what it means for Staffordshire

Last week we had the Chancellor’s Budget with Pledges to invest more in the NHS this winter, a drive to increase house building and extra investment in education and skills,

Alongside this was increases in personal tax allowances for people, and housing stamp duty deals for first time buyers which I’m sure will be welcome news for many people. And, with greater support too for small companies it does look like there are lots of winners. But as always it will take time to go through the finer detail to see exactly what it means for the county, for residents and for local businesses.

However our focus and priorities at the county council remain clear, we will continue creating the right conditions to grow our economy and create not only more jobs, but more well-paid, better skilled jobs.  For example, since 2014 we’ve helped create and safeguard around 5,560 jobs and develop 3.7 million square feet of employment floor space for businesses, that’s around 60 football pitches.  Not to forget we have near full employment and our business parks are thriving, like Redhill in Stafford which is almost fully occupied.

Having a strong economy with thriving businesses and more skilled jobs puts more money in people’s pockets, which in turn is good for the county council. And that is because people in work tend to lead healthier lifestyles with less dependence on county council services, meaning we can focus our efforts on the most vulnerable in our communities, like children in care and our growing elderly population.

The budget also promised extra money for the NHS over the winter.  While this is welcome for Staffordshire, and for county councils in particular, the funding challenges and pressures on adult social care remain enormous and a long-term solution on how this is funded still needs to be fully addressed nationally.  This year we are spending a record £300m in social care to make sure people receive the best quality health and social care available. Getting the very best care for our older and more vulnerable residents is something we all want to see and we will continue to work more closely with the NHS to improve services and reduce the pressure on our hospitals.

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