Nine Staffordshire councils have pledged to work closer together and pursue a County Deal with Government under its ‘Levelling Up’ agenda.
Staffordshire council leaders are pledging to work closer than ever on the economy, skills and training, climate change and improved public services, building on their effective joint working to help residents and businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic.
They are drawing up ambitious plans to create more jobs and opportunities for Staffordshire people, improve public health, and tackle the challenges of waste and recycling. These plans could be delivered faster with extra funding and support available through a County Deal, say the councils.
Councillor Patrick Farrington, Leader of Stafford Borough Council, said: “We have demonstrated how close collaboration with our neighbouring councils – as well as other partners – has reaped benefits in our borough with huge rewards for investment and improved services in our area. The recent opening of the £63m Stafford Western Access Road and securing more than £20 million to regenerate the town centre are good examples.
“We have shared services with Cannock Chase District Council for many years – making savings for taxpayers, as well as improvements, which were praised by independent auditors. And we are installing a number of electric vehicle charging points in our borough after a successful bid for funding from central government alongside Newcastle Under Lyme Borough Council and Stoke City Council. These are just a small number of so many collaborative projects and that fantastic partnership working will continue, but a County Deal will accelerate our ambitious programme, further improve public services, and deliver excellent returns for the people of our borough, Staffordshire and the UK.”
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said:
“Whether standing shoulder to shoulder to protect the vulnerable through the pandemic, or moving the earth to create new business parks ready for investment, we deliver best when we work together.
“Collaboration is at the heart of all we do best in Staffordshire, and thanks to strong local leadership, we have a track record to prove it.
“This agreement builds on our strengths and offers the Government the perfect platform here, in the nationally valued centre of the country, to pursue its levelling up agenda.
“Come what may, Staffordshire councils will continue to work hand in glove. But a County Deal and additional investment in Staffordshire would help us put our foot to the floor and accelerate the positive changes we can make for the 850,000 people we serve.”
A Joint Leaders Board is to be created to oversee the delivery of an agreed set of priorities, and the development of a County Deal for Staffordshire. This Board will further strengthen the strong, local democratic leadership in the county.
Discussions are now underway with Government Ministers and civil servants on a series of proposals.
Press Release No 5841