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.
The nine councils working together on the County Deal proposal are: Cannock Chase District Council; East Staffordshire Borough Council; Lichfield District Council; Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council; South Staffordshire Council; Stafford Borough Council; Staffordshire County Council; Staffordshire Moorlands District Council; and Tamworth Borough Council.
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.”
Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “In Newcastle we have demonstrated that, working together with our partners, we can put forward well-crafted, realistic, shared visions that central government can fully endorse. By working together across Staffordshire, with shared aims and strong, cohesive leadership, I believe we can bring in the investment needed to effectively tackle, at a local level, some of the national issues being faced by our communities.”
Councillor Sybil Ralphs, Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, said: “As the saying goes there is strength in numbers, and this collaborative approach to delivering an ambitious, forward-looking programme for Staffordshire, and the Moorlands, is the best way of ensuring everyone benefits. Our collective voice adds weight to what we’re seeking to achieve at district-level which is why it’s so important the Moorlands is in from the start. The County Deal will enable us to realise real improvements for our residents over a faster time period without compromising the importance of local leadership and I very much welcome the opportunities this opens up.”
Councillor Olivia Lyons, Leader of Cannock Chase District Council, said: “We believe a County Deal should not be a one-off bid, but the start of a new, ongoing conversation with central government that builds on Staffordshire’s strengths and tackles big national problems at a local level. Two-tier local government works in Staffordshire. A County Deal will accelerate our ambitious programme, improve public services and deliver excellent returns for both the people of Staffordshire and the UK.”
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 will soon get underway with Government Ministers and civil servants on a series of proposals.