Monday, 10 September 2012

Big changes in the Government

Although it has, as ever, been business as usual throughout August at the County Council, having had a week off over the Bank Holiday it felt rather like the start of a new term last week.

The big news was David Cameron's Cabinet reshuffle, and naturally I was sorry to learn that three of the West Sussex MPs had left their Ministerial posts. All three were most enthusiastic and diligent about their portfolios.

Now there are new names and faces in Health, Local Government, Children’s, Education, and Economy. No doubt all the newly appointed people are really busy with briefings and getting to grips with their portfolios after which there will be meetings and briefings, so it is going to be a really interesting autumn.

The debate over Heathrow continues with an Airport Consultation due and, of course, some people look to Gatwick and the possibility of a second runway. The County Council has a legal agreement in place that prevents the building of a second runway before 2019. We support the continued growth and expansion of Gatwick as a single runway, two terminal airport until then.

If the issue of a second runway after 2019 arises, then we will consider it at that time and on its merits. Any case for a second runway would need to be justified by compelling evidence that its economic benefits to the Gatwick Diamond outweigh the disadvantages. As a County Council, we would also need to be persuaded that the environmental impact of any second runway would be mitigated sufficiently.

Here at County Hall, the emphasis is on delivering our savings, looking at our services to ensure that we are delivering the best outcomes for our residents, improving our Children's Services, and developing our Public Health and Health and Wellbeing Board as we move from shadow role to full responsibility in 2013.

We are also working with businesses to support the economy, and to that end my thanks to Jeremy Pardey who runs Butlins, Bognor Regis, who came and gave a brilliant presentation to Cabinet Members last week. Butlins has made a
£100 million investment in the Bognor Regis site and provides a terrific offering to visitors. It was really interesting to learn how they are investing in developing a local work force and promoting visitor attractions outside Bognor Regis as well.

Having recently signed the Military Covenant, I was also delighted to learn that Butlins supports military personnel by offering discounts.

An interesting flavour of last week, which was as busy as it was fascinating.

Best wishes,

No comments:

Post a Comment