Cllr Mike Jones is the Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council
Our manifesto is about building on the work we have completed over the six years since the council was formed in 2009.
We have stripped out costs amounting to an annual saving of £134 million, by reducing waste, bureaucracy and inefficient working practices. This is more than required by the reduction of our income and has enabled the Council to invest in protecting and increasing front line services including an additional £19 million into protecting children from neglect and abuse and £16.5 million to ensure we can fund care for our elderly residents who need support and help. We are committed to continue to reduce costs and protect these very valuable front line services over the next four years.
We will continue to support schools, regardless of type, by working with Governors, Heads and Teachers we have increased from 70 per cent to 90 per cent the number of schools across the Borough that are Good and Outstanding and aim to increase this to over 95 per cent over the next four years.
We will continue to work with the private sector to encourage apprenticeships and the Council and its associated companies will continue to take of 40-50 apprentices each year.
We have made significant investments into infrastructure enabling the Council to resurface both structural and preventive works, 542 miles of roads reducing pot hole complaints and claims by a third, we will continue to provide this additional investment for the next four years, to eat into the £100 million backlog of road maintenance inherited by the council in 2009.
Likewise we have invested, in partnership with Government, £150 million into our schools and will deliver at least £134 million over the next four years, removing dilapidated mobile classroom and poor teaching facilities, enabling every child to have the opportunity to learn in an excellent learning environment.
We will deliver the new theatre/cultural centre, described as most exciting cultural project outside London and implement the arts and cultural strategy to enrich the lives of the residents across the Borough. We will likewise continue to invest in improving indoor and outdoor sports facilities across the Borough to excite and support more children (and those of all ages) to become more active and stay healthy for longer.
By creating a great place to live and work, we are attracting significant inward investment and jobs, working across the public sector we are helping long term unemployed to get a job, providing support and help as required and with the companies creating the jobs, ensuring local people have every opportunity to get a local job. We will continue this programme and extend the work to help those on ESA as well as JSA over the next four years.
To support the economy, we will continue to argue for investment in to our infrastructure such as the modernisation and electrification of our railways and key road projects, supporting businesses and communities.
All this with a commitment to keep council tax increases below inflation with the aim of no increase over the next four years.