Monmouthshire County Council’s Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups have reaffirmed their shared ambition to create sustainable and resilient communities in Monmouthshire. In committing to a Continuance Agreement on February 26th Councillors Peter Fox and Phil Hobson have clearly set the direction of the council for the period up to May 2017 when local authority elections will take place.
The Continuance Agreement highlights the progress made under the partnership administration since May 2012 but faces up to the challenges that the county, along with all public services in Wales, faces. Despite severe financial pressures the council continues to be well managed and has engaged original and imaginative methods to secure continued improvements in service delivery.
The partnership remains committed to the county’s Single Integrated Plan and its three outcomes: (1) nobody is left behind, (2) people are confident, capable and involved and (3) our county thrives.
Recognising the rural nature of Monmouthshire the Continuance Agreement adds a further priority for the council – maintaining locally accessible services. This priority demonstrates the council’s focus on continuing services in new ways, in diverse geographical locations, in the face of on-going and significant budget pressures. This year the council has to make savings of £5.8 million and will need to make further savings of £10 million over the next three years. This new priority will sit alongside the existing priorities of (1) education, (2) protecting the most vulnerable in society and (3) promotion of enterprise, economic development and job creation.
The Continuance Agreement makes it clear that while there are tough choices to be made in the next two years the council will seek to ensure all valued services survive. The administration will continue to deliver services with its current values of openness, fairness, flexibility and teamwork.
Council Leader, Peter Fox said: “The Continuance Agreement sets out our political objectives and intended approach for the next two years. The very challenging financial times ahead require us to be totally honest with our communities about what we will continue to do and also what may need to change. We have listened to the public and we know that in a large rural county like Monmouthshire locally accessible services are an absolute necessity. We will seek to ensure valued services survive even if delivered by others. We remain committed to building sustainable and resilient communities.”
Councillor Hobson added: “Much has been achieved since the signing of the Partnership Agreement in May 2012. With the significant changes since then we have re-examined the original document to ensure that it is equipped to carry us forward to the end of the current administration in May 2017.”