The leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Tim Warren, has set out his vision for the future of the Council and the B&NES area.
At the annual Bath City Conference last Friday, 13th October, Councillor Warren made a speech setting out his vision for how the Council can meet the financial challenge it faces in the years ahead, whilst at the same time continuing to invest in the future and deliver upon the priorities of local residents.
Councillor Warren said: “As a Council we have been upfront about the challenges we face and the difficult decisions that will need to be taken to balance our budget in the years ahead.
“But alongside these challenges remain many opportunities, and we continue to have a strong and positive vision for how we can make Bath and North East Somerset an even better place to live and work – with more job opportunities for our area’s young people, more affordable homes for residents to live in, and a more self-sufficient and entrepreneurial council that can continue to invest in the high quality services residents rightly demand.
“As an administration we have three clear objectives: a council which is efficient and well run; a council which invests in the future of our area; and a council which puts the interests of residents first. To deliver these objectives whilst meeting the financial challenge we face, our aim is to make B&NES a council which is financially self-sufficient by 2020, thereby making us less reliant on changes to government funding in the years ahead.
“This will need to be achieved through a combination of smart investments that generate an ongoing income for the council, further increases in efficiency and service reform, and investment in our local economy, particularly in terms of infrastructure, so that we can grow the local businesses that not only create new jobs but also generate Business Rates to support our local services.
“We don’t pretend that all these changes will be easy, but we have a strong track record on which to build, and I remain optimistic both about our ability to rise to this challenge and about the future prosperity of our area.”
Some of the examples of successes the Council has had so far in meeting these aims cited during Councillor Warren’s speech included:
- Establishing a new Council-owned housing company, that will both help deliver the new homes needed whilst also generating a return for the Council;
- New commercial investments that are generating an additional £1.7 million of income for the Council this year alone;
- Continued support for the Bath Quays and Somer Valley Enterprise Zones, which will create thousands of new local jobs in the years ahead.
- Securing the highest-value devolution agreement in the country, which will deliver millions of pounds of investment in local infrastructure to support the local economy and upgrade local transport networks.