Five-year plan approved to 'future-proof' services in Warwickshire

But Labour and Green Party councillors said the plan does not go far enough in tackling issues such as food banks and climate change
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A new five-year Council Plan outlining key priorities has been approved by county councillors.

And Warwickshire County Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe (Con, Stour and the Vale) is confident that the three-pronged approach will help future-proof the county.

Members at this week’s full council meeting voted through the plan with its priority areas concerned with focusing on developing a thriving economy; ensuring people can live safely, healthily, and happily; and creating a county with a sustainable future.

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Labour and Green party councillors voted against approving the plan.

Cllr Seccombe said: “It is absolutely about future-proofing.

"The principles about economy, quality of life and climate change have always been about ensuring that this is a county that businesses want to invest in and, by that, is creating a skilled workforce and opportunities for young people that will see them getting jobs that they can get excited about and that they can create enterprises themselves.

“Alongside good jobs and good businesses there is a quality of life that we need to ensure so we are making sure that social care is something we can be proud of and that education is something we can aspire to.

“We want families to feel they want to invest in Warwickshire, we want businesses to feel they want to invest in Warwickshire and we want a budget that invests in those priorities as well.

“So often council plans sit on the top shelf collecting dust but this is going to be a working document.”

Cllr Seccombe also welcomed the latest State of Warwickshire report which gives an in-depth snapshot of the county, outlining the main issues, trends and challenges.

She added: “Warwickshire County Council has produced the Warwickshire Recovery and Investment Fund for £140m to help our businesses get through what’s been a torrid time. I don’t know of another authority that has, to that level, invested in its businesses.”

Labour group leader Cllr John Holland (Lab, Warwick West) said: “I have a lot of reservations about the Plan. In reference to the White Paper about levelling up, I think levelling up is the key to the whole thing.

“In 2010 there was no need for food banks in Warwickshire, we now have a lot and I’d like a plan that has an exact date when we will no longer need food banks.”

And Cllr Will Roberts (Green, Leamington Willes) had mixed feelings. He said: “This is a really good piece of work but there is a glaring hole in it. One of the key objectives is tackling the climate emergency but our dates in here do not make it a priority. There are some nice words in here about the climate emergency but we are not focussing on it as much as we should and for that reason I cannot vote for this Council Plan.”