County Plan 2016-2020
New County Plan published by SCC...
A new County Plan for Somerset has been published by Somerset County Council, laying out its vision and ambitions.
'Our vision for Somerset is simple. More jobs; more homes; more powers from government; more local co-operation; better health; better education and prospects; better roads, rail, broadband and mobile signal.
Your County Council currently spends around £300m each year delivering important and valued services. We also spend around £50m a year on building new roads, schools and other projects. At the same time we have seen our government funding cut by £100m – with more to come.
Our biggest area for spending is the care and support of vulnerable children and adults. That will remain top of the list in our priorities.
To bring in more funding and resources so the authority can provide the right support to our most vulnerable means we need to be more ambitious. The following ambitions can only be delivered with support from government, our partners, businesses and Somerset communities over a far longer period than the span of this County Plan:
➢ A university for Somerset – each year our young people are forced to leave the county to boost their prospects. We will look at how we can end this ‘brain drain’ and keep young people in the county to help it thrive.
➢ A new ‘Garden Town’ in the county – we desperately need new homes for Somerset residents and skilled professionals.
➢ Major jobs boost through creating a business park – we need to do all we can to boost our local economy alongside better infrastructure for Somerset, and linking up a university, a huge housing initiative and more jobs is crucial to our Vision.
➢ A significant ‘push’ on energy initiatives. We want to be at the heart of discussions about solar power and tidal lagoons to make sure Somerset is in the vanguard of developments.
➢ Devolved powers from government. We are leading a consortium of 20 local authorities and partner organisations to ask for more powers from Government. Devolution is important to the South West and Somerset will play a leading role.
➢ Joining up our own services with those services provided by the NHS. The aim is to improve results for individuals and families, but importantly to do this efficiently to make all our public funding go further.
We will work to deliver these ambitions, but we will continue to have a clear vision and prioritise those residents who need our support now. Our ambitions will undoubtedly assist, but they will take a little time to deliver. Therefore we will continue to have the vision to reduce inequalities wherever we can across the county:
➢ Social inequalities, such as within our education system where children on free school meals underachieve.
➢ Economic inequalities, where people in deprived areas have fewer chances to succeed and are less likely to find good quality jobs.
➢ Health inequalities, where people from deprived backgrounds have poorer health, are more likely to live with long-term conditions, and have a shorter lifespan than people living in more affluent areas.
Our Vision is bold but also looks to provide the funding we need as a Council to be sustainable assist our residents to ﬁnd the help and support they want when they need it. We will work across our county with residents, businesses, our public partners, voluntary agencies and central government to deliver these challenging and exciting ambitions, and at the same time stay true to ourselves by continuing to prioritise the vulnerable children and adults who need our help most.'