I recently met with the other six district council leaders in Leicestershire and we have all signed an agreement to work together to review the current model of local government in Leicestershire.
It follows the county council’s rather rushed proposal to create a single unitary authority for Leicestershire. I have already made my views quite clear on this and I don’t believe the proposal is going to happen.
What the district leaders are proposing is to take a calm, measured look at the structure of local government in Leicestershire and find the best solution for residents.
We will consider the best way for local government to deliver services to its residents in Leicestershire, ensuring they are cost effective and retain their links to local people. We also need to consider the wider context of the East Midlands region.
What’s important is we look at all options, not just one. We have invited the county council and other stakeholders and partners to join in this debate. If we pool our expertise I am sure we’ll get the right answer.
I’ve always said Charnwood has a lot to offer business at home and abroad so I am delighted that Cabinet recently agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Jianyang Municipal Government in China as we look to encourage trade links overseas.
With our central UK location, world-class university and a global reputation for science and innovation, Charnwood is a prime commercial location.
However, we need to make sure we are appearing on corporate radars and one way of doing that is by building links with authorities in other countries, as we are doing in China.
I hope to see more agreements in the future, possibly in nations where we already have strong connections through our twin towns.
I’d like to welcome Jane Hunt to the Council once again after she won the by-election in the Quorn and Mountsorrel ward following the sad death of David Slater.
Jane has served Charnwood before and brings a wealth of experience to the Council. I wish her well.
Finally, the member grants scheme is now up and running and the first awards have been made. Under the scheme, councillors have been allocated up to £1,000 each to give to one or several local projects.
The scheme means we can make sure our grant funding is accessible to a wider number of groups and individuals right across the borough.
I would urge residents who may be looking for support for a project which makes a difference to people’s lives to visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/member_grants for more information. Then have a chat with your ward councillor.