New Year is an opportunity to look forward to another positive year ahead.
Supporting the economy and businesses, creating new jobs, investing in transport infrastructure and providing much needed housing, will be key themes for 2019.
Last summer, we welcomed Secretary of State James Brokenshire to Leicestershire to announce a ground-breaking deal between the County Council and Loughborough University. It will see tech company The Access Group moving into a 100,000 sq. ft. office, generating £1.6m each year for the County Council to reinvest in frontline services. These are the sorts of hi-tech companies who provide quality jobs that we want to retain in and attract to Leicestershire.
Supporting new homes is a top priority. This spring, we’re bidding to Government for £50m to help us put the right roads and infrastructure in place. Business is booming – and more companies are choosing to set up shop in Leicestershire. By forging a new China trade deal, building new business parks in Market Harborough and Coalville, and working closely with the Midlands Engine, we’re doing everything we can to shout out loud and clear that Leicestershire is open for business.
Supporting children is one of our most important responsibilities. And we want young people in our care to live with loving foster families. Foster carers transform lives and recruiting more is a focus for 2019. If you think you can help change a child’s life, I’d be delighted if you’d get in touch.
The Fair Funding campaign will continue this New Year, to ensure that Leicestershire gets its fair share to support services. But local government continues to experience funding challenges. That’s why I want to explore all options open to us to protect services. I firmly believe that the current two-tier structure is not fit for the 21st century – and the debate for a fresh start for Leicestershire will continue. I’m happy to look at options but there is one option that would save up to £30m a year and improve services for residents. It should not be ruled out in those circumstances. Tough decisions still need to be taken and these will not be easy. We’ve just published our latest budget proposals they underline the cost and demand pressures on our budgets. I’d encourage you to have your say on the plans.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.Person:Nick Rushton, council leader