Conservative-controlled East Staffordshire Borough Council has all the seats up for election on May 5. They have an ecellent record and deserve to win. At present there are 25 Conservative councillors, 12 Labour and two Lib Dems.
The Council is shielding local residents from the rising cost of living and finding efficiency savings while managing to protect frontline services.
They have announced a council tax reduction for 2011-12 of 1.9%. This builds on the current year in which the council had a tax freeze. East Staffordshire has managed to provide real help to hard-working families and pensioners without increasing charges, absorbing the VAT increase on car park charges and protecting frontline services from cuts.
This has been achieved by restructuring senior management, saving around £5 million over the next four years, and by moving office accommodation from an old, inefficient building to a purpose-built office in a former brewery building shared with a private sector organisation.
In addition, the council has made around £5.2 million of savings in the last four years (representing 30% of its revenue budget) while still delivering top quartile performance in planning and increasing recycling from 15 per cent to over 50 per cent. They have also become the best performing council in the country for collection of business rates and the top performer in eight service areas when compared to 15 similar-sized district councils across the country.
East Staffordshire is proving itself a model of best practice providing an example to other councils around the country which are making the necessary reductions to their annual budgets while protects vital services for local residents.