ALMOST £110 million will be invested in roads, schools, broadband and economic development in the next 12 months as the county council plans to get Staffordshire communities moving again.
The county council’s Cabinet today recommended a £109 million investment package for 2021/22 including £69 million on roads and bridges and spending £26 million maintaining and extending schools.
Expenditure includes £7 million on the Stafford Western Bypass, a further £3 million for the 60 acre i54 Western Extension in South Staffordshire, £600,000 allocated to support the Eastgate regeneration scheme in Stafford, £300,000 to create more space at successful business parks in Cannock and Newcastle, and £2.8 million towards a new health centre in Burntwood.
In Tamworth, the money is going towards the new primary school at Anker Valley and the expansion of Coton Green Primary School.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said:
“We will focus on what our residents want with sustained investment in Staffordshire’s communities and businesses to help the county bounce back after the pandemic.
“We will carry on spending money on schools, business parks, roads and broadband to get the economy moving again so that existing businesses grow and new ones take root here to create the opportunities for a better life for our residents.”
A raft of new support programmes for businesses would include £860,000 investment to fund wages for 500 apprentices, a training top-up fund for businesses to upskill their employees and a grants scheme to enable small businesses to thrive.
This support will be delivered in conjunction with the Covid-19 support funding of the county’s districts and boroughs to maximise its impact.
Other investment for 2021/22 includes:
- continuing localised support for business with emergency grants, start-up support and rent relief at Enterprise Centres;
- working with the Federation of Small Businesses to provide free ‘back office’ support for a year;
- continuing to provide adult retraining opportunities;
- continuation of the Lichfield Southern Bypass;
- rolling replacement of conventional bulbs in street lights with LED lighting to save energy and cut costs;
- additional expenditure on the roads budget to deal with winter weather and more money to tackle weeds and kerbside maintenance;
- creation of cycleways and improvements for pedestrians in urban areas.
At the same time the council is allocating £346.2 million in 2021/22 to care for the elderly, adults in need of support and vulnerable children and young people
That figure 65 per cent of the county council’s net budget and is an increase of approximately £26 million on 2020/21.
Alan White said:
“We have taken huge steps to rethink how we approach care in Staffordshire so it can be done affordably, safely and close to home, with a focus on early intervention.
“But despite being a well-run council next year social care will again account for two-thirds of our expenditure and the need to fund this is responsible for more than half of the proposed increase in council tax.
“Growing demand in this sector remains a national challenge and we need central Government to take the lead in finding sustainable long-term solutions.”
The proposed increase of 4.99 per cent comprises a 1.99 per cent general increase and three per cent ringfenced for social care.
This year, Staffordshire has the third lowest county council tax in England and, if approved at a meeting of full council next month, this increase equals £1.24 a week for a Band D property.
|Here at Tamworth Informed, we want to say a huge thank you to all NHS Staff, Care Workers, Emergency Service Workers, Shop Staff and anyone else helping to keep us safe, healthy, fed, watered or connected to vital services during this difficult of the 3rd National Lockdown. Please stay safe and look after each other.|
On 4 January the Prime Minister announced that England was to enter a National Lockdown, meaning that we should all stay at home.