On Tuesday 10th May Essex County Council met for their annual meeting. Councillor Kevin Bentley, Leader of the Council, reflected upon the first year of his Conservative Administration and what had been achieved so far.
The Leader stressed the importance of ambition in setting out aspirations and delivering for the whole of Essex. Allowing everyone to have the opportunity “reach for the stars.”
In his speech Councillor Bentley provided members with a recap of some of the highlights from the past year based around the core principles of Renewal, Equality, and Ambition which form the ‘Everyone’s Essex’ agenda which has four aims:
- for a strong, inclusive, and sustainable economy
- for a high-quality environment
- for health, wellbeing, and independence for all ages; and
- for a good place for our children and families to grow
Alongside these commitments, the council is also focused on tackling climate change and levelling up. These significant challenges require generational change, and this Conservative administration is taking great strides towards delivering them.
In his speech, Councillor Bentley described some of the work being done to build a strong, inclusive, and sustainable economy. He praised the nationally recognised levelling up programme which is being led by the Deputy Leader of the Council. Cllr Louise McKinlay. The Leader also highlighted the Kickstart scheme to create over 600 new roles to help unemployed young people into paid employment.
The work being undertaken to create a high-quality environment was also described by the Leader. At the helm of this is the Essex Climate Commission’s £200 million plan to make the County Carbon neutral by 2050.
Councillor Bentley stressed that at the core of his administration’s vision is placing fundamental importance on caring for the elderly and vulnerable. This links with the ‘Everyone’s Essex’s’ mission to build health and wellbeing for all ages. A project to provide the latest technology to support those in care to live as independently as possible was praised by the Leader. As well as work to improve the Health of Essex residents through the “Find your Active” Campaign.
Finally, the Leader reflected upon working which has been done to ensure Essex is a good place for children and families to grow including the impressive statistic that 89.5% of schools across Essex were judged to be good or outstanding. Whilst to address young people’s loss of learning during the pandemic, the Council invested £1million in the Education Task Force for the Year of Reading.
To conclude, Cllr Kevin Bentley’s statement looked to the future, acknowledging the challenges but stressing the opportunities ahead. This Conservative Administration has a vision for “Economic prosperity, educational opportunity, strong communities, efficient infrastructure, and joined-up public services.” This vision will enable people and places across Essex to thrive.
Following the meeting Essex County Council will publish a ‘We Said, We Did’ report outlining what Council has delivered over the past year.