The Labour-led Stockton Council has strived to make a real difference to the people we serve since elected in 2011.
Our annual budget has been cut by £52 million a year by the Conservative-LibDem government. That’s £270 less per person, per year, we can spend on delivering quality services to residents; working to improve the economy; and protecting the most vulnerable.
People of all ages in our borough have been hit hard by many Tory policies which have targeted us in the North East and those most in need. They include the hated Bedroom Tax; the unfair benefits sanctions; end of Education Maintenance Allowance and trebling of university tuition fees. The North East suffers the highest unemployment rate in the UK; and 19.4% of the region’s 16-24 year olds are not in education, employment or training.
Tory-Libdem Coalition decisions have affected people’s quality of life, with real-terms cuts to the NHS, Police, education, social care and many other public service budgets.
Despite these massive cuts, we have worked hard to deliver the priorities we identified in 2011. By managing the finances effectively, we have been able to continue to invest for the future and deliver high quality services that people value.
During the past five years we have delivered on our aims including:
• Transforming our town centres through private-public partnerships to regenerate Billingham town centre and Stockton High Street, following the success of Thornaby town centre
• Fighting fuel poverty by securing £15 million investment to provide free external wall insulation to 2,500+ homes through the GoWarm partnership
• Making Stockton a safer place with a 7% reduction in overall crime from 2010 – 2014
• Regenerating areas including Mandale, Hardwick, Parkfield, Town Centre and Swainby Road and developing more than 640 affordable new homes for rent or sale since May 2011
• Developing new, better Council facilities for residents including customer service centres and keeping our libraries open and improving them
• Better care for older people including building two new Extra Care homes in Thornaby and Billingham ; and transforming the Halcyon Centre in Thornaby to include modern services for people living with dementia
• Investing in the arts and leisure and sports facilities – including festivals, events and our parks – to give local people outstanding culture on their doorstep, and attract visitors to boost our economy
• Achieving even greater value for money including £11m+ savings by sharing administrative services – and keeping them in the public sector
• Bringing looked after children back into their home borough, where they belong, to give them the best start in life we can