Leader of Staffordshire County Council says growing the local economy will be crucial for delivery of public services

Growing the local economy will be crucial to delivering strong public services, the leader of Staffordshire County Council has said.

Cllr Philip Atkins was speaking as the authority’s economic development strategy report was unveiled.

Cllr Philip Atkins. Pic: M Holland

Cllr Philip Atkins. Pic: M Holland

He said the council was determined to continue the growth seen in recent years.

“Our economy is second only to Birmingham’s in this region,” he said. “The number of people seeking work in the county has reached record lows and we’re delivering millions of pounds’ worth of job-creating infrastructure.

“Having created more than 18,000 jobs in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership area since 2011, the focus now is on improving skills and productivity so companies prosper and workers have good jobs.”

Cllr Atkins said the need for a strong business sector was crucial as the county council prepares for further cuts to the money it receives from the Government.

“Staffordshire’s economy has grown by 20% since 2009 and the manufacturing sector has increased by 50% over the same period, but it’s essential we continue in the right direction because from 2020 the council will have to pay its own way from its collection of business rates and council tax.

“All our essential services, our care for the young, old and vulnerable, will be underpinned by the economic strength of the county, which is why our practical focus is on improving roads, broadband and industrial estates on one hand and skills and technical training on the other.”

The report will be considered by the Cabinet next Wednesday (March 16).

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