A message from Flintshire County Council Leader, Councillor Aaron Shotton
Following the recent County Council elections, I am honoured and proud to be re-elected as Leader of Flintshire County Council.
The Council has worked hard over the last few years to protect public services and develop new schemes to benefit local communities. The new Council Cabinet will be continuing to prioritise, sustain and develop local community and public services despite ongoing financial challenges.
|Cllr Billy Mullin
||Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Assets
|Cllr Chris Bithell
||Cabinet Member for Planning and Public Protection
|Cllr Derek Butler
||Cabinet Member for Economic Development
|Cllr Ian Roberts
||Cabinet Member for Education and Youth
|Cllr Christine Jones
||Cabinet Member for Social Services
|Cllr Aaron Shotton
||Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance
|Cllr Bernie Attridge
||Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing
|Cllr Carolyn Thomas
||Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Countryside
Our Council Plan sets out our key priorities to support and enhance residents’ lives. Some of our priorities in 2017-18 include:
- expanding the provision of affordable homes for residents in need;
- protecting people from poverty, with a specific emphasis on fuel and food poverty;
- enabling people to live independently and well at home, whilst avoiding unnecessary admissions to hospital;
- safeguarding - keeping people safe from abuse;
- working with partners to sustain economic growth and increase employment opportunities;
- developing the county transport infrastructure to include an integrated 'Metro' transport system.
In addition, we aim to continue the work of supporting children and young people to achieve their potential; enhancing the natural environment and promoting access to open and green spaces. Despite continued financial austerity, we will remain committed and ambitious as a Council to continue to deliver for our local communities.
Tough times ahead……
As we continue to deal with the current economic climate and the fact that Flintshire remains a low funded council when compared with other Welsh Councils, we are determined to continue our innovative and effective financial planning, which has averted any threats to our frontline services in recent years.
We will continue to stress that the funding formula for local government needs to be reformed. Flintshire can no longer go on, as a low funded council, receiving £17.5M less per year than the average grant for Welsh councils based on a comparative population size.
The forecast “gap” for 2018/19 between income and expenditure is currently £11.7M. The re-adoption of our Medium Term Financial Strategy is an important first step in the annual budget setting process which will also consider national, local, workforce and social care pressures as well as inflation.
Any savings will be on top of the significant efficiency savings the Council has made over a number of years whilst protecting local services and jobs.
We need to work harder than ever to plan and deliver essential council services in this continuing period of financial austerity. As a low funded council, we are more exposed to the impacts of significant annual budget reductions when combined with the increasing needs of our residents for key services such as social care. I believe that there is increasing public support and understanding of the reality that Government must act immediately to reverse the impacts of austerity if we are to successfully defend services into the future.
Each council service area is subject to extensive and ongoing reviews and is being asked how they can respond to these unprecedented cost pressures. The Council has limited efficiency options without having to reduce services to unacceptable levels of service provision.
Flintshire is recognised nationally as a Council which is being innovative in finding new solutions that are both cost efficient and resilient and are sustainable for the future.
Despite being a low funded Council, Flintshire has shown itself to be a solid performer in the standards to which it provides local services, with excellence in key services such as education, housing and social care. We are also number one in Wales in ensuring that Council tax collection rates remain as high as possible.
These are challenging times for both local councils and the Welsh Government. If we are to find a way through this with our vital local services still intact, councils need to work closely with the government and we plan to do that to find joint solutions.