A four year settlement plan, which determines Government funding levels for council services until 2020, has today been agreed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
By agreeing the plan, subject to Government approval, the local authority is now in a position to take up a multi-year financial settlement from Government, the first settlement of its type for a number of years. The Government has been clear that if a council accepts the offer, funding received will not be less than outlined in the final settlement in February 2016 and would not be subject to the yearly process determining the local government finance settlement.
The plan also sets out the principles for how the council will achieve £51m in growth and savings between 2017 and 2020 based on the Conservative-Independent coalition’s stronger together vision. They include:
· Developing opportunities for local businesses to grow to create jobs and foster enterprise;
· Securing investment in towns and communities through the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Local Enterprise Partnership and other schemes such as the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone to generate future business rate growth;
· Investing for a return – developing a housing company to provide much needed new housing of various types as well as generating income;
· Being more commercially minded with our assets in a similar way to how Smithfield has been used to attract over 400 jobs to the city and become the headquarters for Water Plus;
· Taking a commercial approach to delivering services for example through our district heat network;
· Developing traded services and driving productivity and value for money through better performance management and working with partners to improve services.
Conservative Deputy leader of the Council, Cllr Abi Brown said: “Our strategy is one of growth in jobs and business underpinned by our ambitious capital investment programme of nearly £500 million and adopting a commercial minded approach to all that we do. This in turns benefits residents through increased income for the council which can be used to provide better services.
“As a well-managed council that also takes a prudent and responsible approach to our finances, it’s imperative to plan ahead. Agreeing this four year settlement plan gives us some certainty around the level of resources available and means we can undertake medium term planning with more confidence. This certainty would not apply if the offer is not accepted.
“There is still a big challenge ahead of us, which is being mirrored in local authorities up and down the country but with the direction provided by our stronger together vision and our ambitious plans for growth, I’m confident we can deliver the very best we can for our great city.”