Philip Atkins

Leek Post & Times - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Stafford­shire County Coun­cil leader

UN­DER­PIN­NING ev­ery­thing we all de­sire is the cre­ation of more bet­ter qual­ity jobs for peo­ple in Stafford­shire.

Not only does this usu­ally mean higher wages, al­low­ing fam­i­lies to af­ford and en­joy a bet­ter qual­ity of life but it also has a knock-on ef­fect on our over­all econ­omy, as peo­ple spend their money with lo­cal busi­nesses.

More ev­i­dence of this is the con­tin­u­ing trend of al­most full em­ploy­ment we’ve seen through­out 2018, with the lat­est fig­ures show­ing that just 1.3 per cent of the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion claim­ing out of work ben­e­fits.

Once again, this is lower than both re­gional and na­tional av­er­ages and means we’ve been out­per­form­ing our neigh­bors through­out most of the year which is good news.

The work the county coun­cil does to cre­ate the right con­di­tions to at­tract new busi­ness and help ex­ist­ing ones thrive re­mains vi­tal.

This in­volves con­tin­u­ous in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture, like ma­jor road im­prove­ments such as the A50 at Ut­tox­eter. In­vest­ment in key foun­da­tions like su­per­fast broad­band, hous­ing, schools and more busi­ness parks are all key parts of our plans in build­ing a more pros­per­ous Stafford­shire.

2018 has been a pretty good year for de­vel­op­ment, and there’s lots more to be ex­cited about in 2019 with even more ma­jor projects sched­uled.

We have the ex­cit­ing ex­pan­sion of i54 South Stafford­shire which will cre­ate an ad­di­tional 1,700 jobs while the Four Ashes busi­ness park is at full oc­cu­pancy.

In Stafford, Red­hill Busi­ness Park, also at full oc­cu­pancy with ex­pand­ing com­pa­nies such as Al­stom, is help­ing to safe­guard and cre­ate thou­sands of more jobs over the next decade.

2019 will also see the start of con­struc­tion of the Stafford West­ern Ac­cess Route and Lich­field South­ern By­pass.

Work on a ma­jor £15m high­ways im­prove­ment project in Can­nock for a new £160m Mcarthur­glen De­signer Out­let is al­ready un­der way. Due to open in 2020, the out­let is ex­pected to cre­ate around 1,000 jobs.

As a county coun­cil we have a good story to tell.

We’re open­ing doors for busi­ness to thrive and grow.

We’re at­tract­ing new in­vest­ment to the county and we are mak­ing Stafford­shire right for busi­ness to im­prove the lives of ev­ery­one liv­ing here.

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