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Leader's Blog March 2017

I was delighted to note our borough was high up in the charts in another national survey.

Warrington was named as the second best place to live in the UK in a recent Channel 4 documentary.
The programme was based on extensive scientific research into a series of factors, including high employment, income, house price to earnings ratio, culture, health and wellbeing, education and school standards.  Once again Warrington is riding high in the charts as a great place to live, work, visit and do business.
The work we are doing as a council to improve the borough’s infrastructure, education and training standards, social care, health and wellbeing, cultural offering and attractiveness to businesses is clearly paying off.
This is despite the fact that Warrington is one of the lowest-funded unitary authorities outside London.
Here in Warrington we have suffered cuts of more than £92million since 2010 – the equivalent of £1,312 per household. Throughout this period we have done our upmost to protect the most vulnerable people across the borough and those services that you value most.
Now we must find another £9million in savings from the 2017/18 budget and also fund Adult Social Care by 3% increase in Council Tax.  This government is once again making council tax payers in Warrington and elsewhere fund what the government should fund nationally. By 2020 we must save at least another £30 million in total. We will continue to do all we can to protect essential services, such as social care for vulnerable children and adults, while also doing our best to maintain other services such as waste and recycling collection, street cleaning and roads maintenance, but it won’t be easy.
We are doing all we can to reduce our own costs and to raise extra revenue to put back into frontline services. Our aim is to make sure these pressures are well managed so that local residents, particularly the most vulnerable ones, are protected from the worst effects of the cuts.
Even with these massive cuts in central funding we have still managed to keep your council tax one of the lowest in the North West.
We have found innovative ways of investing our capital funding to bring in extra income and are constantly finding new ways to save money and generate revenue.
One of the ways we boost the local economy is to encourage businesses to grow, thrive or relocate to Warrington. Our business centre, The Base, continues to go from strength to strength.  2,000 sq ft of space has just been let to three technology businesses, maintaining the centre’s reputation as a home for high growth small and medium sized businesses. 
The three offices have been let to Ixis, a software company; Drupal Resulting IT, a technology-driven sales development business; and Avanite, an IT consultancy.  Between them the new tenants bring 24 new jobs to the building. Other lettings are in the pipeline.
Elsewhere across the town centre development progresses at a pace. Every day sees a different look to our skyline as new structures emerge.
Finally I would like to commend all the hard work of council officers as they worked hard to keep residents safe and keep the roads open during Storm Doris. There was always going to be some disruption but our staff did an excellent job in minimising this.