Well, the big issue of the moment is the budget. The Chancellor’s settlement is complicated and it has taken our officers some time to analyse and prepare a briefing for us to explain the implications.
Probably the biggest question will be whether we should add 2% on top of the likely 1.97% increase to help with the shortfall in adult social care services. Adult social care is my biggest concern and it is some relief that we could increase council tax above the referendum threshold to help but this still won’t be enough. We have an increasingly elderly population and it is proving harder and harder to recruit people to this area of work. I am quite sure that none of us wants to be cared for by people who don’t want to be doing the job so we do need to value those who are.
We are having problems with emergency services vehicles not being able to get through when they need to due to inconsiderate parking. We know it is getting harder and harder because there are more vehicles per household. Many of our homes were built before the days of any cars, never mind three or four per family. By the time we add in garages used for everything except cars, caravans, motor homes and boats on driveways and often works vehicles and vans, it is starting to look like an obstacle course in some roads in the evenings. Please bear this in mind! It could be your home that the fire engine or ambulance can’t reach. If you are mobile enough to park just a few yards from your home, please be thankful for that and do so.
There isn’t really any more to report on the Devolution Deal or the boundary review at the moment but I’m sure both these issues will feature in the next couple of months.