So far the County is under-spending its budget in most areas making more savings than Government cuts requires. Although this saves money it does not help the local economy. However I am pleased to note that care for the elderly is one service where they are spending £1million more having been forced into a rise for care home providers.
Plans to “externalise” Highways functions to a private contractor has reached the short list stage with five companies involved. We have a new report on the creation of a new Heritage Organisation at scrutiny on the 27 th September and plans to sell the County’s residential care homes continue with Care UK.
The proposal that Concessionary Bus Pass time limits revert to those that existed when the District councils ran the system was rejected. We have called that decision in to scrutiny on the 27 th when we will again examine why money can’t be found to remove all time limits for bus pass holders with disability and to allow those over 60 to travel from 9am. There is an under spend that could be used.
SITA are ahead of schedule with the incinerator on Bramford Road. The waste bunker and turbine foundations are appearing above ground level. I am pleased to report that serious attempts are being made to use the heat generated by the incinerator to heat greenhouses making the technology much more environmentally justifiable.
As you know the Bramford Household Waste Recycling Centre was finally closed early this year. It is frustrating to find that the waste service is now under-spending by enough to have kept the centre open.
The transfer to Barham and Bramford Parishes of their picnic sites and Bramford’s water meadows is nearing completion. Archaeological investigations at Barham have delayed the process but now the location and depth of graves in the Workhouse burial ground have been established we should be ok to proceed.
After planning permission has been gained the site will be leased to Claydon Football Club for conversion to several pitches : no small task
Results yet to be audited suggest there have been some dramatic improvements in the key stage two results in Suffolk this year although we don’t yet have the national figures for comparison.
In the new 2 tier Haverhill and Lowestoft areas improvements of 12% in writing and 6% in maths were achieved while in deprived areas of the county improvements were up to 30% in reading and 25% in maths. That shows what Suffolk children can do with good teaching and high expectations.
My belief is that the impact of the slimmed down but focused school improvement team is an important factor and that some of the £2million under spend that has emerged should be used to enhance its activities.