September 2010 seems a long time ago, and certainly allot of political water has gone under the bridge, since Labour assumed control of the Council.
During the last twelve months the Labour administration consolidated its position at the May elections and is proud of its record of listening to people and protecting front line services and the vulnerable where ever we have been able to.
The savage cuts that were announced earlier this year in budget are also now having an impact across all sectors and unemployment is continuing to rise across the area. We have however been able to make some difference by undertaking efficiency savings and cutting out wasteful spending planned by the previous Tories and Liberal administration.
For example, we are aware from the calls that we get that environmental issues such as grassing cutting, littering etc. are important to our residents. That is why earlier this year, despite suffering around £33m in our funding from Government; we have managed to find additional resources to deal with these services despite the financial difficulties the Council continues to face. This is helping make some improvements in the environment, but we all need to encourage everyone to get involved in keeping their neighbourhoods clean and taking pride in their local areas and communities.
In addition, we are aware of the frustration pot holes and poor road surfaces cause and have identified an extra £1m to undertake emergency repairs to the most damaged and important roads in the Borough.
Despite what we are doing locally we cannot get away from the impact that the Tory/ Liberal Democrat National Government policies are having on our town. An analysis of the changes being introduced by the Coalition Government shows they are having a enormous detrimental impact on Boroughs like ours. For example, the proposed localisation of Council Tax will have a disproportionate effect on authorities with high levels of deprivation. In addition, changes to a range of benefits has serious implications to the most vulnerable in society, particularly women and families, who are struggling to cope with increasing prices and facing hikes in their energy bills.
The next twelve months promise to be equally challenging as the last twelve but we promise to continue to do our best for the people who elected us and for all those who live in the Borough.