CABINET CALL: By Coun Peter Coupland
This is my first column for the Guardian after joining the cabinet following the elections in May.
Local statistics show that unemployment is down, wages are rising and house prices are also on the increase
Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll aim to give you an interesting insight into what my role as a cabinet member entails.
I’ll also endeavour to keep you informed about the work we are carrying out to ensure that the residents of South Holland get the best services possible.
I thought I’d kick off by writing about what we are doing to help tackle some of the financial challenges currently facing the council.
My portfolio responsibilities cover strategic finance, which is the area I’m going to take personal responsibility for.
South Holland District Council, like all local authorities in the country, will receive less government funding over the next few years, which will make it harder for us to balance our budgets.
Councillors will face some difficult decisions, while retaining services at a level no lower than residents are currently experiencing.
We will be looking at ways of generating new income to help fund front-line local services in the future.
We already share senior staff with Breckland Council in Norfolk, an arrangement which has so far saved £4.4million and we continue to explore leaner ways of working.
While we remain in a period of austerity, local statistics show that unemployment is down, wages are rising and house prices are also on the increase.
The country’s economy as a whole is growing with the real story of austerity being the ability of the private sector to offer more jobs in greater numbers than in recent years.
More jobs means more income tax, more national insurance and more VAT into the Government’s coffers, which will hopefully help towards future public spending and eventually lead us out of austerity.