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Investment promised in people and communities

More money than ever is to be spent on providing support to Staffordshire residents, at the same time as investing in the county’s future.

For the first time, more than £400 million has been budgeted by Staffordshire County Council to provide social care for the elderly and to support vulnerable children and young people during 2023/24.

At the same time the authority is also committing more than £100 million next year on school repairs and expansion, business infrastructure and highways.

Ian Parry, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Finance, said: “Providing adult social care and protecting children and young people account for two-thirds of our annual budget – and they remain a huge moral and financial responsibility.

“But because we are a well-run, financially stable authority we are still able to invest in the future for our businesses and communities by laying down the foundations, often quite literally, for businesses to prosper and for people to be educated to fill good jobs on their doorstep.”

In line with most other local authorities, Staffordshire County Council is proposing a 4.99 per cent council tax increase for 2023/24, comprising 2.99 per cent for general purposes and 2 per cent ringfenced for social care.

Since 2014 the Council’s £410 million Economic Growth Programme has delivered more than 11,000 jobs and enabled more than 4,500 houses to be built.

Significant planned expenditure includes:

  • the £3.1 million Chatterley Valley West employment site near Kidsgrove, which will create up to 1,700 jobs;

  • £40 million on public health projects, including diabetes-prevention, supporting good mental health in the young, and drug and alcohol addiction treatment;

  • £5.8 million for the extension and refurbishment of Hawthorne House, Lichfield, to provide adult social care;

  • building the major road junction to Pets at Home’s national distribution centre in Stafford, which will create 800 jobs;

  • around £45 million for upgrading and refurbishing older school buildings, with extensions planned for schools in areas with growing populations;

  • £50 million for the repair and maintenance of roads.

Ian Parry added: “The combination of another one-year settlement from Government and the variables of inflation and energy costs, plus uncertainties over which parts of adult social care reforms are still to be implemented immediately – and at what price – pose challenges for any authority trying to plan for the long term and share its plans with the public.

“Nonetheless, we are proposing a balanced budget and promise to spend every pound of taxpayers’ money as carefully and wisely as we can.”

If approved, the annual increase for a Band D property would be the equivalent of £1.34 a week.

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