At this year’s Bath City Conference I set out my vision for the future of the Council and the Bath & North East Somerset area.
Last week’s financial statement set out the financial challenges we face going forward. But this does not mean we will not be investing in the future or meeting the priorities of residents. On the contrary, I am clear that there are positive opportunities that we can act on in order to make B&NES an even better place to live and work.
There are three clear objectives: a council which is efficient and well-run; a council that invests in the future of the area and a council that puts residents’ interests first.
In order to meet these objectives which meeting the financial challenges, we aim to make B&NES a council which is financially self-sufficient by 2020.
To achieve this will require a combination of smart investments to generate an ongoing income for the Council, further increases in efficiency and service reform and investment in our economy, particularly local infrastructure, so that we can grow local businesses that not only create jobs, but which also generate Business Rates.
I’m not pretending that all this will be easy but achievements such as the new commercial investments that are generating an additional £1.7 million for the Council this year alone, or the establishment of a new Council-owned housing company that will help deliver some of the homes that are needed show that it can be done.
Next month, the Council Cabinet and the Clinical Commissioning Group will consider plans to improve existing joint working arrangements for the delivery of NHS-provided health and Council-provided social care services. These are aimed at achieving more sustainable health and care provision while also ensuring improved health and well-being outcomes for the people of Bath & North East Somerset. .
Finally, I was pleased to be invited to the new Ivy Bath Brasserie which has opened in the former NatWest Bank in Milson Street. It’s gratifying to see such a high-profile building being brought back into such good use and generating jobs for the city.