A WEEK is a long time in Politics – and that certainly applied to last week.
It started by setting the Borough Council’s portion of the council tax where we agreed a two per cent reduction. This follows four years at the same level and for the last 11 years overall during which it has been kept at less than half the rate of inflation.
This is a real achievement given that frontline services have been maintained.
The two per cent came about from a windfall in funding from the Government and I felt that it was right to pass it back to hard-pressed taxpayers.
On Wednesday last we got the announcement from the Secretary of State for Health concerning Stafford Hospital. This was accompanied by a statement from the Prime Minister indicating that he would like to see a consultant-led maternity unit at Stafford and the Secretary of State for Health’s announcement reflected this, asking NHS England to look into the matter.
There is an imperative to move on now and to work with providers and those commissioning the services to get the right model for Stafford. I congratulate the staff at Stafford Hospital for the high quality services they have been maintaining there.
We now owe it to them to remove uncertainties and work to establish a model of care which will have acceptance by the community.
The final issue discussed at council concerned the proposed closure of the Stafford university campus site.
There have been a number of meetings over recent weeks to discuss this issue and plan a way forward and the working group which has been set up is meeting again this Friday with the university to see what options for the future can be found.
Throughout all this we have been discussing the final layout and logistics of the major developments in Stafford town centre with developers LXB. The plans are very exciting and are one of only a few in the UK proceeding at the moment. Stafford can take pride in that.
On a lighter note, last week we also elected our Mayor for the forthcoming year – Councillor Ray Sutherland.
It is 400 years since the Mayoralty was established and we will be having a special celebration and fun day for all ages on Saturday 10 May - so do put that date in your diary.