I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise to anyone if I say that this year has, once again, been difficult for us all. I remember writing a blog a couple of years ago saying that everyone, the Council, residents and businesses alike have all suffered. This is just as true today as it was then.
I am immensely proud of what we have achieved this year, despite the many and varied hurdles we have had to face and overcome. This is especially true when I consider that we have continued to deliver quality value for money services for our residents.
Households across Tameside are facing tough choices just to keep up with basic living costs. In the same way that many residents are making difficult decisions about their budget, the Council must continue to do the same.
Over the last three years we have seen a 41% cut to our funding which is set to rise to 56% in the coming two years. This means the choices we have to make about the services that you expect and rely on are becoming increasingly difficult.
We are looking for different ways of doing things. We want to work more with individuals and community groups and support them in keeping their local areas clean and well cared for. This is not a new concept; it’s a return to how things used to be. By doing this we will have more money to spend on safeguarding vulnerable young and elderly people in our community.
I certainly feel as if we have achieved a great deal over the last 12 months. Although I cannot detail all our achievements I have listed my top 10 below:
• Worked with Tameside College to develop brand new first class further education
• Pressed Transport for Greater Manchester for better public transport in Tameside
• Took on pay-day loan companies and provided better and more coordinated financial information and support for households in debt, and an affordable, ethical alternative source of credit.
• Encouraged local employers to adopt the Living Wage
• Promoted and encourage households to energy switch, .working with Community and Voluntary Action Tameside to help target the elderly and those most in need
• Attracted new employers into Tameside and encouraged businesses to grow and create new job opportunities
• Supported local entrepreneurs and those wanting to start their own business
• Promoted apprenticeships, working towards our pledge of having 1 in 4 young people in an apprenticeship by 2015
• Offered incentives to local communities to take on some of the responsibility for their areas – You Choose will be refocused to reward those who recycle
• Worked with residents to help them recycle more and send less waste to expensive landfill.
This couldn’t have been done without the tireless help and support of our staff and partners and it’s these people who deserve the highest praise and thanks for all that has been achieved.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and see you in 2014