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County's keeping up the good work
12:52pm Thursday 14th March 2013 in Letters
HAMPSHIRE County Council has set a £1.8 billion budget that freezes council tax, boosts the economy and maintains all its services, despite Government cutting our grant by 43 per cent over four years.
For that we owe enormous gratitude to our staff, contractors, partners and volunteers in communities who have risen to the challenges.
They all played a part in dealing with the difficulties imposed by a huge reduction in income and increased costs and demand for services that they continue to provide and improve to enable Hampshire residents to receive the services they need the most.
Services that are meeting the needs of the increase in frail and vulnerable elderly folk as more people live longer and need our care.
We’re improving the way those needs are looked after with our ambitious £45m Extra Care housing programme to help them maintain independence and choice for longer and reduce the longer-term care bill.
Services that safeguard many more vulnerable children than ever before, rated excellent by Ofsted, to which we have added a budget to recruit 70 new social workers and support staff.
Services that are repairing and strengthening roads damaged by severe weather conditions, reducing our carbon emissions and our energy costs by £1.5m, replacing our street lights, spending £1m to enhance concessionary bus fares and sending the least amount of rubbish to landfill than anywhere else, using it to provide ten per cent of the electricity needed by homes in Hampshire.
Services that are keeping all of Hampshire’s libraries, museums and children’s centres running, with an increase in frontline family support workers, supporting schools who continue to improve their GCSE results above national average and building 8,000 new classroom spaces.
Our staff have changed the way they work to fill the gaps left by 1,800 colleagues who have not been replaced as part of the £46m reduction in our pay bill, and changed where they work as we disposed of 73 office buildings to save running costs. By sharing services with police and fire they are also building resilience for the future.
We owe them our thanks and much more for the sacrifices they have made and efforts they have willingly contributed to protect the wellbeing of the people they serve across this great county of ours, and through your newspaper I would like to thank them all.
Ken Thornber Leader of Hampshire County Council