Council’s plan for prosperity puts business firstNov 23, 2012
Council leader Cllr Hazel Simmons outlined a three-point plan as the Town Hall prepares for cuts in government funding over the next three years.
In her autumn statement to the full council meeting, Cllr Simmons presented a draft Prospectus for Luton, in which increased income from business growth and investment in education and training to boost employment in the town are key.
The council has begun work to find £48 million worth of savings that could result in reductions to many services.
Cllr Simmons said: “This is a very tough financial time for individuals, families, business and the council. Without doubt, things cannot stay the same. It is not what any of us wants but it is undisputedly the financial reality.”
The draft prospectus, to be considered later this month by the council Executive, proposes a three-part plan for Luton over the next three years:
- To increase income from business growth
- To better equip residents of all ages to get jobs, through investment in education and training
- To work with partners to ensure the most vulnerable people in Luton are safe and supported.
Cllr Simmons said: “Now, more than ever, business success is going to be vital for Luton. With this in mind, the plan identifies a measured and targeted investment in the environment which aims to encourage companies to increase the number of jobs on offer.
“An investment in education and training – particularly towards early years’ services with a proven track record of achieving benefits throughout a person’s life – aims to ensure that local people can get those jobs, and that the town will benefit from the associated improvement in prosperity, health and well-being.”
The council will consider cuts to services and raising more income from its trading arms, as well as rents and charges. It would also look to create better value through cost-sharing and using buying power by working with other public sector bodies such as the police, education and the NHS.
Cllr Simmons said: “Our task however is even greater than this. For in addition to delivering financial stability, we must also set the borough on a course to future prosperity that will enable us to continue providing the essential services that residents rely on.
“Over the next few months we will be working hard to retain key services and to grow our economic base as we fight to deliver the very best we can within an ever decreasing level of funding.”