I am the committee chairman from Northumberland County Council who in most papers recently ‘used her casting vote to prevent the action’.
The action referred to was supporting the policy board’s decision made on October 7, to support a new HQ building at Ashington, leading to a significant and economic gain to Morpeth and Ashington as well as reducing the council’s costs; and to instruct the lead executive director to develop a plan with the view of relocating by early 2018. I would like to explain why I did so to your readers as I feel the wider picture needs to be known.
Most county councils are feeling the same pressure from a Cons/LibDem coalition government to reduce their budgets. Northumberland needs to make reductions of some £140million over four years.
Rather than continue to reduce front-line services, as done by the previous administration, the Labour administration determined to meet the modern ways of working head-on.
Delivering local services at a local level, affordable to all needed to be addressed in an acceptable manner. Independent assessors looked at all available sites, including the current site.
The decision reached by the policy board was not about the much-needed regeneration of Ashington but also the opportunity to provide services throughout the seven major towns of Northumberland. This would include Berwick, Alnwick, Morpeth and Hexham.
After losing some 2,500 jobs during the times of the previous administration, job security for the present workforce and to attract the best of our youth in the future looking to gain employment, is essential in providing a first-class front-line service.
Coun Alyson Wallace,
Economic Prosperity and Strategic services Overview and Scrutiny Committee (EP&SSOSC),
Northumberland County Council