As part of his speech at today’s Full Council meeting, Councillor Bee set out his key priorities for the coming year to ensure Suffolk continues to develop and improve quality services. His aim was to give local people a clear understanding of where the county council is at present, and what it will be looking to achieve over the next 12 months.
The work of the council will focus around the following five key priorities:
- Economic growth and jobs
- Supporting vulnerable people
- Localism and the ‘Our Place’ programme
- Building on Suffolk’s existing strengths
Opening his address to council, Councillor Bee said;
“Local government is responsible for a significant part of public spending, and I believe it is only right that we are expected to play our part in finding more efficient ways to do this. Together with our partners in local government and the public sector, I believe we can meet the challenges, and working together, find the solutions that will guide us through these difficult times.”
In the past year, the council has successfully met a budget gap of nearly £43million. When setting the budget for the next two years, Councillor Bee was determined to continue to find savings while protecting front line services that the people of Suffolk value so highly.
The county council’s achievements over the past year were outlined by Councillor Bee, including the £20million high-speed broadband investment, the successful innovation of the joint fire control centre with Cambridgeshire and the start of construction of the Energy from Waste site in Great Blakenham.
Councillor Bee also highlighted the announcement of a preferred bidder for Suffolk’s care homes, the laying of foundations for the future of the county’s libraries and the support for young families by keeping all children’s centres open. He said;
“The story of the last year has been one of steady and steadfast achievement and progress in challenging circumstances.”
Closing his speech, Councillor Bee said;
“We have a profound responsibility to spend tax-payers’ money as carefully and prudently as we possibly can and squeeze the maximum value out of every penny. Underpinning it all is strong financial management and a friendly, accessible and responsive county council. That is our job. This is the team. Now is the time.”
Read the full speech here (PDF, 43Kb)