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Leader's Blog - April 2018

On March 20th every year we remember those who were killed and injured when the IRA bombed Bridge Street.

This year, on the 25th anniversary, the solemn occasion was larger than usual with invited guests including HRH the Princess Royal and the Ambassador for Ireland.
The service was meticulously planned by officers of the council for months before the event - in partnership with stakeholders, The Rev Stephen Kingsnorth, The Peace Centre and Cheshire Police.
Warrington Male Voice Choir and choirs from Great Sankey High School and Barrow Hall Primary School sang beautifully at a very poignant commemoration.

The 2018 Financial Sustainability of Local Authorities report describes how since 2010 successive governments have reduced the funding for local government.
While the report indicates that councils have done well to manage the sustained funding reductions (including here in Warrington) the last three years has seen the financial pressures increase markedly.  Services are now under extreme pressure and there are new demand pressures, particularly in Adult Social Care and many councils have less room for manoeuvre in finding further savings.  There is now a pattern of growing overspends on services and dwindling reserves.  The growing financial crisis is also not helped by the government’s continued hesitation on the reform to the local government financial system.  The report concludes that unless there is a change in government policy and priorities one in 10 councils will run out of money in the next three years.

Warrington & Co delivered a successful launch for the Business Exchange at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on 7 March. Nearly 200 delegates attended and around 10% have already signed up to this new subscription based membership organisation. Key speakers on the day included Steven Broomhead and Steve Park, with panellists from Eddie Stobart, Total Steelwork, No Brainer and the Park Royal Hotel.
The Business Exchange provides easy access to the business community in Warrington by signposting events organised by other networks such as Colony and Love Warrington. These are enhanced by its own exclusive content in areas such as Data Protection, Cyber Security and Economic Briefings. Sector specific sub groups ensure that all companies in Warrington will find something that is relevant and of value to their industry.
Warrington’s economy has been given a clean bill of health in a report by a think tank. The study by Localis found that the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership’s economy is ‘well placed’ ahead of the UK’s departure from the European Union. Cheshire and Warrington is one of England’s most productive areas according to the report, while workers in the area are some of the highest rewarded in England. Localis also found that Cheshire and Warrington’s workforce is overall more skilled than the job that they do and called for industrial strategy to focus on improving the quality of employment to meet the existing labour market.

Warrington businesses have voted in favour of having a Business Improvement District (BID) for the town centre.
More than 400 businesses had the opportunity to approve or reject the five-year £1.8million private sector-led investment for Warrington town centre, with a majority (68%) of those who voted approving the BID Setting up a BID empowers businesses to undertake activities, projects and services that will make a town centre more economically vibrant, increase footfall and support the creation of a safer, cleaner and greener town centre. 
Warrington joins more than 200 town and city centres across the UK who have chosen to implement successful BIDs since 2005. Local examples of successful BID’s that are making an active, visible impact include those in Liverpool, Altrincham and Manchester.
The Business Improvement District in Warrington town centre represents a major change in how the town centre is managed enabling and empowering businesses to take control.