Planning for a balanced budget

We have a great story to tell here in Staffordshire with a flourishing economy, continuing investment and the creation of more better quality jobs.  We also have incredibly low unemployment, currently better than the regional and national figures, so there’s plenty to be proud of.

But at the same time, you will also have heard me say that local councils continue to face some of the most difficult financial conditions in modern times and because of this we have published our draft budget proposals early.  Over the next few months we will be working with partners, staff and yourselves as we finalise our budget and spending plans for the next year.

Growing demands on caring for our elderly and increased pressures on children’s services remain our biggest challenges. For example, ten years ago we spent £200 million on care, rising this year to our largest ever spend of £315 million –  all being invested to help support the most vulnerable in our communities.

But with increasing costs going out and less money coming in, the current situation is simply unsustainable.  And like managing your household budget, we can’t spend more than we have coming in.  This means we will have to prioritise things to make sure we can help the people in our communities with the most need.

We have been swift to recognise the enormity of the financial challenge and over the last nine years have already made efficiency savings worth around £240 million.

We continue to innovate and do things differently. We will continue to work more closely with partners like the NHS, police and the voluntary sector to help make people’s lives better.

In addition to this, we will also be asking people to do more for themselves and where possible support their neighbours and communities to help find solutions to local issues.

By working together and us all doing our bit, I know we can  continue to build a prosperous and more productive Staffordshire for the years to come which we can all enjoy.  A great place to live, a great place to work and a great place to raise a family.

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