Leader’s New Year mes­sage for 2017

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Front Page -

HAL­TON Coun­cil leader Rob Pol­hill has looked back on the bor­ough’s achieve­ments in 2016 as he wished res­i­dents well for the New Year.

Cllr Pol­hill, de­scribed the past year as ‘ex­tremely chal­leng­ing’ be­cause of on­go­ing bud­get cuts and he slated the Gov­ern­ment over so­cial care fund­ing and the ‘cold hand of aus­ter­ity’.

High­lights for the leader of the year in­cluded the £20m Al­stom tech­nol­ogy cen­tre and train­ing academy in Widnes, de­vel­op­ments at Sci-Tech Dares­bury, work start­ing on the re­de­vel­op­ment of the Crosville de­pot site in Run­corn and progress on the Mersey Gate­way bridge.

Cllr Pol­hill also thanked the bor­ough’s vol­un­teers.

He said: “There’s no get­ting away from the fact that 2016 was another ex­tremely chal­leng­ing year for the coun­cil.

“The deep­en­ing ef­fects of Gov­ern­ment cuts have fur­ther im­pinged on our abil­ity to de­liver the first­class ser­vices we pride our­selves on here in Hal­ton and the lack of com­mit­ment by the Gov­ern- ment to so­cial care – the very ser­vice that looks af­ter our most vul­ner­a­ble – re­mains deeply trou­bling.

“How­ever, we have to look past the cold hand of aus­ter­ity that con­tin­ues to hold us in its grip.

“And if we do, then we can see there are wel­come signs that Hal­ton con­tin­ues to punch above its weight – par­tic­u­larly in terms of at­tract­ing in­ward in­vest­ment.

“We are de­lighted to be wel­com­ing Al­stom to the bor­ough and its £20m tech­nol­ogy cen­tre and train­ing academy, which could bring as many as 600 new jobs and sched­uled to open in May 2017.

“Plus there are wel­come new de­vel­op­ments at Sci-Tech Dares­bury, which re­mains a jewel in the crown of our busi­ness base.

“Ad­di­tion­ally we have seen work start and progress well to re­de­velop the old Crosville site in Run­corn bring­ing fur­ther in­vest­ment to the town cen­tre.

“And, of course, the new Mersey cross­ing is now be­com­ing a lo­cal land­mark and should be open wi t h i n the year. “Our schools and col­leges con­tinue to per­form ex­cel­lently – 87% of our sec­ondary schools are good or out­stand­ing – com­pared with 84% na­tion­ally ac­cord­ing to Of­sted, and our pri­mary schools did even bet­ter with 91% com­pared to 84% na­tion­ally. “I am also proud of the achieve­ments of our young peo­ple who con­tinue to achieve ex­cel­lent exam re­sult year on year – well done ev­ery­one. “De­spite the chal- lenges, the phys­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion of Hal­ton, in­clud­ing in­vest­ment in new vis­i­tor fa­cil­i­ties, grow­ing re­tail and leisure fa­cil­i­ties and qual­ity hous­ing, means that Hal­ton is work­ing hard to max­imise op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­sure we de­liver a brighter fu­ture for ev­ery­one who lives, works and vis­its our bor­ough.

“Fi­nally, I would like to thank all our vol­un­teers, who give up their time to help those in their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, their help and sup­port makes such a dif­fer­ence to the lives of so many.

“Wish­ing all read­ers and their fam­i­lies a peace­ful and healthy 2017.” ●

Rob Pol­hill, leader of Hal­ton Bor­ough Coun­cil

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